Finding a variety which combines good yields with impressive disease resistance credentials has long been a difficult challenge for wheat growers. But independent trials are showing RGT Saki is offering growers just that.
Growers looking for a feed wheat for harvest 2022 should give serious consideration to RGT Saki, according to Chris Piggott, regional seed manager with Frontier.
He says: “Anyone considering a feed wheat should definitely look at RGT Saki and for those thinking about soft feed wheats it’s a no-brainer.
Looking at feed wheats as a whole, RGT Saki stands out as being a nice well-rounded option.” Dr Cathy Hooper, RAGT’s technical sales manager, says they have enough seed in the ground for RGT Saki to take 8-10% market share for harvest 2022 and current trials work will ensure growers have all the information they need to grow the variety.
RGT Saki made its debut at Cereals 2019 and has undergone extensive trials since then, providing an extensive data set.
Dr Hooper says: “RGT Saki has the unique combination of providing disease resistance and high yield.
It used to be said that you could either fill the bucket with disease resistance or high yield, but you couldn’t have both.
Well, RGT Saki provides both.
“Furthermore, it provides consistently high yields whether treated or untreated.
There are other varieties out there which provide good yields and disease resistance when untreated but are not so good when treated.
“The breeders have done a fantastic job in bringing together these traits of disease resistance and high yields.
They have also done a really good job on specific weights.
These have tended to be an issue with soft wheats in the past but RGT Saki has an excellent specific weight of 76.
It has a good Hagberg Falling Number, grain quality and excellent sprouting resistance which can also be an issue with some soft wheats.” This year, independent trials have been conducted by Agrovista at Draughton, North Yorkshire; AICC in Sussex and Prime Agriculture, Norfolk; as well as RAGT’s own trials work.
In all trials RGT Saki consistently delivered yields above the mean, whether treated or untreated.
For instance, in Agrovista’s trial it yielded 12.3 tonnes per hectare untreated compared to a trial average of 10.55t/ha, and treated it gave 15.4t/ha compared to an average of 13.85t/ha.
In RAGT’s own trials in East Anglia it gave the highest yield of any of the first wheats tested and made a very respectable third place as a second wheat.
“Its disease resistance, including seedling yellow rust resistance, is second to none.”
Dr Cathy Hooper
Dr Hooper says: “Last year RGT Saki performed very well wherever we put it and it delivered the highest yields.
It is very consistent, a trait which comes from its Santiago parentage, but with the addition of high disease resistance.
Its disease resistance, including seedling yellow rust resistance, is second to none.
“We are now putting it back out to trial with Greencrop and Prime Agriculture and we are looking to obtain more detailed information including tillers per plant, tillers per sq.m, ears per sq.m, grains per ear and plant height.
“As more commercial growers adopt RGT Saki, these detailed trials will allow us to provide guidance for them to get the best out of the variety.
We hope to be able to organise some open days towards the end of June or the beginning of July to disseminate this information.” The issue of RGT Saki’s maturity score is something both Dr Hooper and Mr Piggott commented on.
Dr Hooper says: “Some growers are concerned about its maturity score, but it can be drilled early and performs very well in this ‘early drill’ slot.
It appears in the 2020 AHDB Recommended Lists Early Sown Trials and gave consistently good results.” Mr Piggott says: “We definitely see a role for RGT Saki in that early drilled slot.
This was something that stood out quite clearly to us because it has such a high early drilled yield.
What is also interesting is that when it is sown later it develops more quickly through growth stages and therefore you won’t get a very late maturity.
It is later maturing, but this is not as much of an issue as some may think.
“For early sowing it ticks all the boxes; it has really good disease resistance – particularly for septoria and rust – and it has stiff straw.
These are the main traits you would look for.” Overall, Mr Piggott says Frontier’s experience of RGT Saki has been very positive with excellent yields.
“Our trials show the fungicide contribution to yield is relatively low with RGT Saki across most sites and this has been a consistent pattern.
We see this as a key factor at the present time as it lowers the risk when you are making decisions about which varieties to grow.
“The reliability of disease resistance and the decreased reliance on key timed inputs are critical elements.” Frontier had commercial availability of the variety in 2020 and sold it to growers around the country, as well as putting it into its own trials programme.
“We grew it as far north as Coldstream in Scotland, as well as in Norfolk where we are trying to identify any issues with rust,” says Mr Piggott.
Cambridgeshire grower Sam Morris was an early adopter of RGT Saki, growing 15 hectares for harvest 2020.
Mr Morris, who farms in his own right as well as contracting, says: “We drilled a small amount of Saki in autumn 2019.
We have a particular issue with storage and we are looking to grow more soft wheats.
Although it was a small amount and a difficult year, I was impressed with it.
“It did well all season with vigorous growth.
It’s difficult to judge on a small trial but it needed less fungicide and gives flexibility on spray timings.
The yield was really good.
“We have increased the area we are growing for harvest 2021 to around 80ha and I anticipate it will make a difference and enable us to reduce the need for spraying.
“The widespread use of RGT Saki across different regions is a reflection of its properties.
Those in the North can drill early with confidence.
Those who don’t want to drill early will see really good yields and excellent disease resistance.
“It was the highest treated yielding variety at our Lincolnshire site.
RGT Saki gave consistently high yields across all sites from light sandy soils to quite heavy clay and this is also reflected in the AHDB data.
“When it came to looking at yellow rust, in our trials in Norfolk it performed as well as the most resistant varieties.
Yellow rust is a big challenge for many growers and this is a particular strength of RGT Saki’s.
“We also saw a very good and consistent response to PGR across all our sites.
Some varieties which appear taller don’t respond well to PGR, whereas RGT Saki responded very well.
If you are looking for a variety that you want to shorten and keep stiff, RGT Saki is worthy of consideration.
“Last year was a very challenging season all round with a dry period in spring, but RGT Saki actually performed incredibly well.
Our expectation for those who have it in the ground for this year is that they will also have good crops, which is why we would recommend it for harvest 2022.”
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