German E winter wheat, KWS Montana has achieved premiums of £30/tonne more than Group 1 wheats, with millers taking the opportunity to source home grown supplies of the variety which is said to produce stronger flour needed for ciabatta and nutty breads.
The variety, sold via the EU common catalogue is well suited to UK growing conditions, according to KWS value chain manager Kirsty Richards. “We currently import 200,000 tonnes/year of German E wheats. Last harvest ADM milled less than 1000 tonnes of UK-grown Montana. This harvest ADM and Gleadell have contracts for 7000 tonnes.”
In yield terms, according to UK-based KWS trials the variety compares well with Cordiale, Skyfall and Solstice, says Ms Richards. “It is behind them but not very far. It is early maturing and commonly achieves 14 per cent protein with good disease resistance.”
While breeders have tried importing German E wheat varieties in the past, these have not always performed well under UK conditions, however, KWS managing director Andrew Newby is confident about prospects for KWS Montana. “This one doesn’t get yellow rust and stands well. Such varieties don’t come up very often.”
With Brexit on the horizon and what it may mean in terms of importing wheat from continental Europe, growing KWS Montana offers farmers the opportunity to be involved in something different, says Ms Richards. “Having a UK-grown source of wheat required by UK millers offers something extra for the market.”
KWS also launched its malting barley variety, KWS Sassy, added to the 2017/18 Recommended List which offers a treated yield of 103 per cent, and high spirit yield for distillers, according to Ms Richards. “It has a spirit yield of 439 compared with 434 for Concerto with lots of support among distillers.”
The variety has a five per cent market share this season, according to KWS.