14th July 2021

Building High Yielding Wheat Varieties with Disease Resistance

Winter wheat varieties aimed at helping growers achieve consistently high yields year-in and year-out, were on show at Limagrain UK’s Winter Cereals Variety Open Day held at Woolpit near Bury St Edmunds, earlier this month.

For the last two seasons, there has been so little opportunity to have any shared experiences or learnings, so the chance to come together this year has been welcomed.

Ron Granger

Adhering to Covid regulations, small groups visited several stations across the site; each one focusing on different wheat types.

With the increasing loss of crop protection products and the challenges thrown up by unpredictable weather events, interest in untreated yield has been growing, becoming almost more important for many growers than treated plots.

One of the stars of the show drawing the attention of the visitors, was LG Astronomer – an exciting new biscuit wheat that offers one of the most complete agronomic packages of any winter wheat available on the AHDB Recommend List for 2021/22.

“Because of its high specific weight (77.8 kg/hl), all-round agronomic package, and strong yield – in the east it scored 102% – it ticks a lot of boxes for on-farm security, which is what growers are looking for,” said Limagrain’s arable technical manager, Ron Granger.

“It is classified as a biscuit wheat but should not be pigeon-holed as one, as it yields as a barn filler feed wheat too.”

Other new biscuit wheats on display were LG Prince and LG Illuminate.

LG Prince , which is the highest yielding biscuit variety on the RL, does particularly well in the east, scoring 104% of control, and is suitable for early and late drilling spots, and also performs well as a second wheat, he said.

LG Illuminate is popular in the north and has a solid specific weight of 76.6 kg/hl.”

“It meets specification for distilling and export, as well as being a biscuit wheat, so it offers growers a wide range of market opportunities.”

“These are great packages; we know that UK farmers are very good at growing biscuit wheats and get really good results, but any of these varieties yield well enough to be grown as feed wheats too.”

Moving on to Group 4 wheats, Mr Granger pointed out that LG Skyscraper is still the highest-yielding winter wheat available on the RL, and continues to deliver these high yields across all situations.

“The variety is a KWS Santiago cross, and it ticks all the boxes; it works in a first wheat or second wheat slot and because it is suitable for late drilling and quick off the blocks in terms of speed of growth, it is good if you are dealing with a black-grass situation.”

“It has bold grain quality with a high specific weight, and it is widely used by distillers and in soft grists, giving LG Skyscraper multiple market outlets.”

Also on show were new promising Group 4 Candidate hard varieties, LG Farrier and LG Typhoon.

“LG Farrier has consistently high yields, and a good resistance profile for mildew and rusts, whilst LG Typhoon has potentially one of the highest septoria resistance scores, and fits across wide drilling windows, including earlier drilling.”

Mr Granger pointed out that Group 1 milling wheat, Crusoe, remains very popular with both millers and farmers, and is holding up well agronomically too.

Mr Granger said: “It has high protein, good quality grain and a stable Hagberg, alongside an excellent disease package that includes a 9 for yellow rust – which has held up well despite the changing pathogens.”

Limagrain’s varietal offering for Group 2 is also looking strong, with varieties such as LG Detroit and newer material waiting in the wings

LG Detroit has orange wheat blossom midge (OWBM) resistance, it works as a first or second wheat, and looks to be competitive with KWS Siskin on yield.

“We are currently assessing a number of different seed rates to build a robust data set, so we can see which gives the best results for farmers in all sorts of conditions.”

The breeder is also looking at specialist wheats such as white wheat, and has some at an early generational stage,

“Sprouting can be a real problem in white wheats, but this one is promising because it has better sprouting resistance and a good Hagberg,” explained Phil Tailby, senior wheat breeder.

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