12th September 2022

Gold for Limagrain UK’s wheat breeding programme

The Technical Innovation Awards, which are usually presented every year at the Royal Highland Show in June, aim to acknowledge the individuals, or businesses that are striving towards improving efficiencies in the rural sectors.

This year as the Royal Highland Show is not taking place due to Covid-19, the Awards were judged remotely.

Gold Awards are presented to previous Silver Award winners for continuous outstanding merit; in 2017 Limagrain UK, which is part of the French farmer owned co-operative Groupe Limagrain, won the Silver Award for its Winter Wheat breeding programme.

Limagrain UK has a reputation for producing successful varieties for Scotland. In 2017, wheats LG Sundance and LG Motown led the way, offering desirable characteristics for growers and end- users.

Three years on and high yielding soft wheats, LG Skyscraper and LG Spotlight have taken pole position, reflecting their excellent performance in Scotland.

LG Skyscraper remains the highest yielding wheat for the second year running, sitting on the top of the AHDB Recommended List 2020/21 with a UK yield of 105%. LG Spotlight sits just below with a UK yield of 103%.

Since their launch, both varieties have proven themselves to be consistent over seasons and situations. They are also both suitable for distilling, which is an important market opportunity for Scotland.

LG Spotlight

This comes down to their impressive grain quality credentials; in the challenging conditions last year LG Spotlight maintained its very good specific weight of 77.9 kg/hl, combined with one of the highest Hagberg Falling Numbers available at 288 – bucking the trend that soft wheats tend to have a Hagberg Falling Number in the low 200’s or below.

LG Skyscraper has a large grain and its specific weight of 76.9 kg/hl and HFN coming in at 218, makes it an attractive package, when compared to other feed varieties.

“We are thrilled to have won the Gold Technical Innovation Award,” says Ed Flatman, Limagrain’s senior wheat breeder. “Genetics is at the very core of the Limagrain business and behind this success and driving the business forward is the investment that we make in Research and Development.”

“Almost 16% of our seed sales is invested in research and development, which is more than the automotive industry! More than 20% of our employees work in research.”

“There is no doubt that UK agriculture faces considerable challenges, but plant genetics have an increasingly important role to play in mitigating many of these challenges,” he points out.

“By developing crop varieties with higher yields, improved resource use efficiency and reduced environmental impact, we can move to a new environment where plant genetics are an integral part of on-farm integrated crop management.”

“What an exciting achievement for the Limagrain UK wheat breeding programme,” says Dunfermline-based Douglas Bonn who works for Nickerson, the retail division of Limagrain UK .

“The Royal Highland Show is always one of the busiest shows for us, offering the opportunity to meet with our customers. We look forward to next year when hopefully things will have returned to some form of normality, and seeing what new and innovative solutions are on offer to vie for this prestigious Award. Until then we hope you have a successful harvest and stay safe.”

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