Since its launch into official trials, the variety has been tested in very different seasons each offering its own set of challenges from the very dry springs in 2010/11 to the extreme disease pressure seasons of 2012 and 2014. How has the variety withstood these challenges and has it fulfilled its promise of being able to deliver both on farm and to market requirements?
When developing a new milling wheat, the variety has to be able to deliver the basics of good protein content, Hagberg and specific weight says Ian Foot, quality wheat manager with breeders Limagrain UK. But there’s also the quality of the flour, its functionality and baking performance and colour, and for it to make a Group1, it needs to deliver all of this consistently.
“Yield is the primary trait we breed for to get onto the HGCA recommended list – it has to perform, but alongside this, agronomic characteristics such as good disease resistance and straw stiffness are important attributes for consideration.”
Crusoe is a cross between long time market favourite Cordiale and a Limagrain variety Gulliver which is less well known, but gives Crusoe its distinctive iridescent green colour and the genetic disposition for a high protein content.
“Quality is a genetic trait so there is an element of predictability in building it into a variety, but it’s all about the type of protein and its consistency. The right type of protein is difficult to define but it manifests itself in the bake for bread flour and this all comes down to how the variety processes nitrogen. In a good milling variety, nitrogen is used for building protein as well as feeding yield.”
Crusoe was identified by Warburton’s to stand out in baking tests when it was first trialled in 2007; it has the whitest flour with a high protein content and good functionality. It produces relatively strong gluten, like Gallant and has shown itself to deliver this consistently.
Stuart Jones, technical controller for Warburton’s notes how Crusoe quickly established itself as an integral part of the Warburton’s wheat growing programme.
“Consistency of flour performance is essential when baking at Warburton’s. We expect a lot from our raw materials especially the flour to ensure every product produced meets the standards our consumers demand. We need to know that any variety we take on has an ability to deliver against the specification year after year and Crusoe has exhibited all the Warburton’s specific traits expected during bake tests.”
“Protein quantity is what’s measured but its protein quality that matters. Crusoe puts a tick in both boxes. Year on year Crusoe has continued to deliver and Crusoe remains within the Warburton’s wheat selection plans going forward.”
Ron Granger, arable technical manager with Limagrain backs up these findings and points out that this consistency of quality offering is what sets Crusoe apart from the other Group 1 wheats.
“In all of the trials we have conducted either in house or with industry partners, the message is the same â year on year, irrespective of region, rotation slot or soil type Crusoe consistently delivers yield and quality.”