Featuring varieties with high yields and strong disease packages, the 2021/22 AHDB Recommended Lists offer new options to growers in all regions. Alice Dyer takes a look at the latest additions.
Although Group 3s dominate introductions to the 2021/22 winter wheat AHDB Recommended List (RL), a new soft Group 4 variety has caught the eye of distillers.
Speaking during the list’s launch, Dr Paul Gosling, RL manager said: “Distillers are very excited about Swallow. Recommended for the North, it has a decent yield of 102, Hagberg of 245 and a good specific weight of 76.3kg/hl.
“The Scottish Whisky Research Institute were really excited about this variety – it had the highest alcohol yields and gave consistent results. It was rated ‘good’ for distilling, in comparison to the others rated ‘medium’. However, it does have a slightly weaker disease package with only 5.7 for septoria.”
Two new Group 4 hard wheats were also added to the list – KWS Cranium, and the long-awaited first barley yellow dwarf virus (BYDV) resistant wheat variety, Wolverine.
Dr Gosling said: “At 102 per cent, Wolverine has similar yields to Graham. Its Hagberg is 274 and specific weight is a little low at 75.9kg/hl. Disease ratings are less than we would hope for at 5 for mildew and yellow rust, and 5.3 for septoria. However, BYDV resistance is a valuable trait which we will hopefully see more of because without seed treatments we are going to struggle to control it.”
KWS Cranium could be of interest to growers pushing back drilling dates due to black-grass thanks to its late sown yield of 108 per cent (based on limited data), Dr Gosling said.
“Its Hagberg is good at 277, but it has a tendency for lower specific weights on some sites at 75.4kg/hl. It is also a bit later at +2, but it has a high yellow rust rating at 8 and not a bad disease package.”
Five new Group 3s made the list, with LG Prince the highest yielding Group 3, at 103 per cent, and 104 in the East. It has a lower-end specific weight of 74.8kg/hl, and high disease ratings with an 8 for yellow and brown rust, and a 7.1 for septoria. It has been approved for UK distilling, but not export.
LG Illuminate has a yield of 102 per cent, with a Hagberg of 251 and a high specific weight of 76.6 kg/hl. It has both export and distilling potential, as well as a good disease package, with a 7 for yellow rust, 8 for brown rust and 7 for septoria. This led to a high untreated yield of 85.
LG Quasar is similar on yields at 102 but slightly lower quality with a Hagberg of 212. It has a specific weight of 75.4kg/hl and distilling and export potential.
Although slightly back on yield at 101, LG Astronomer has the most impressive disease package, with 9 for yellow and brown rust, and 7.4 for septoria, and an attractive specific weight of 77.8kg/hl and Hagberg of 238. This is reflected in its high untreated yield of 86 per cent.
Recommended for the East, Merit had an eastern yield of 103, ahead of most others, Hagberg of 255, specific weight of 76.5kg/hl and UK distilling and export potential.
Spring wheats see the addition of high yielding Group 4, WPB Escape. With a yield of 107 per cent, specific weight of 77kg/hl and Hagberg of 264, it also offers a good disease package with 8 for yellow rust and mildew (based on the limited data) and a 6 for septoria.
The winter barley RL sees five new feed varieties added, but no new malting varieties.
Two-row varieties, KWS Tardis, Bolton and Bordeaux providedan uplift in yield on current varieties, with all three achieving a UK-wide yield of 106 per cent, and 107 in the East. Bordeaux had the highest specific weight at 69.9. However, its 4 for net blotch and rhynchosporium make it susceptible and for growers in wetter areas, KWS Tardis’ 7 for rhynchosporium is likely to be attractive, Dr Gosling said, as well as its high specific weight at 69.1kg/hl and relatively early ripening at 0. Bolton, with a specific weight of 68.6, shows a step up in mildew ratings to KWS Tardis, with a 6. All three showed good resistance to lodging.
Six-row feed variety, SY Kingston was ahead of other varieties in the West at 109 per cent and had a UK-yield of 107.
Its early ripening at -1 makes it a good option for OSR growers, Dr Gosling said. “It has good disease resistance with mildew high at 7, and a 6 for net blotch, rhynchosporium and brown rust.”
SY Thunderbolt, with a specific weight of 69.6kg/hl, also offered a strong disease package, with an 8 for mildew, 7 for brown rust, 6 for rhynchosporium and a 6 for net blotch (based on limited data).
Dr Gosling said: “With both having untreated yields of 88 per cent, I am sure these varieties will be attractive to people looking to reduce costs.”
For spring barleys, the new malting variety for brewing Skyway, yields 3 per cent above the highest yielding malting variety on last year’s list, SY Splendor.
Dr Gosling said: “It offers a nice move forward in yield, well ahead of Laureate and Planet. It also has a higher specific weight at 68.7kg/hl.”
It is in line with others on the list for lodging, ripening and mildew but it has no brown rust rating due to a lack of disease data.
Dr Gosling added: “It is susceptible to rhynchosporium but its high untreated yield of 96 suggests it brown rust rating is quite reasonable.”
New feed variety, Cadiz is recommended for the East and West where it is achieving 105 and 106 per cent (the latter based on limited data) respectively. It is not as early as Fairway at +1 and it has a specific weight 67.4kg/hl.
Dr Gosling said: “Again, it has no brown rust rating but its untreated yield of 94 suggests it will be at least as good as Fairway and Splendor, if not better.”
No new winter or spring oat varieties were added to the list.
A new system defining rust ratings has been adopted, following ongoing issues with fast-mutating rust races Three years’ data will continue to be used to calculate ratings but they will be weighted so that the most recent years’ results have the largest influence on the rating. This approach makes the rating more sensitive to changes in rust populations, while still building on a valuable three-year data set, Dr Gosling said.
This has seen rust ratings fall for a number of varieties, including KWS Zyatt which has fallen from 7 to 5 for yellow rust, and Skyfall which has gone from 5 to 3.
Dr Gosling added: “Resistance to yellow and brown rust has not changed significantly this year, and there is no significant evidence of new races emerging. We believe the new system is robust to these changes and can deal with changes going forwards.”
Yellow rust ratings are now available for winter triticale varieties and winter rye now has brown rust ratings.
There has also been a change to the way spring oat mildew ratings are calculated, so some varieties have shifted in ratings. However, mildew strains or susceptibility to them has not changed, Dr Gosling said.