The key conclusions from AHDB’s ‘Look Ahead’ activity was announced at the Agronomists’ Conference by Dr Jenna Watts who manages the Recommended List (RL).
Look Ahead, a five-year project which is now half way through, examines how people use the RL and identifies how the variety trialling programme can be improved.
Disease resistance, economics and good agronomics were noted as some of the most crucial variety characteristics by growers and agronomists, conversely to other stakeholder respondents who chose treated yield as the most important factor.
Dr Watts said: “It is interesting to see that importance of disease resistance and quality has been highlighted as equally as important as yield information. We’ve seen this over the last few years at variety demonstration events. Five years ago, growers wanted to know the highest yield, but now they want to look at untreated trials or septoria ratings, so just speaking to growers there does seem to be that change.”
Growers made up 52 per cent of the total 623 respondents to the survey, and agronomists 19 per cent.
Demand for more regional information was requested by 60 per cent of survey respondents and need for more economic information was also highlighted.
Dr Watts said: “We had a lot of comments about other improvements to specific traits such as weed control, autumn vigour and sowing windows. It might not be appropriate for the RL to provide all of this information but now that we have received these requests we need to look at whether we can work with our knowledge exchange team to provide it.”