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Stackyard News Jan 05
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Bill Angus, Nickerson's senior wheat breeder, with Alchemy winter wheat
The Arable Group

Alchemy Winter Wheat Launched A Year Early

The development of strobilurin-resistant strains of Septoria tritici means farmers will be looking for varieties that have a high level of in-built resistance to them.

With this in mind plant breeding company Nickerson have decided to launch their new winter wheat variety Alchemy a year early, with limited supplies available through all distributors for sowing this autumn.

"Although high yield will continue to be the key driver in variety choice, other factors such as disease resistance will become increasingly important," says Nickerson's cereals product manager Lee Robinson.

In the 2003/2004 National List trials, Alchemy scored 108 for treated yield, and a massive 121 on untreated plots - highlighting the variety's inherent disease resistance.

Scoring 9 for resistance to Yellow and Brown Rust, 8 for mildew and Septoria nodorum and 7 for Septoria tritici, Alchemy has the best all round disease resistance of any wheat ever produced by Nickerson. Based on current data, Nickerson also expect Alchemy to be rated 9 for standing power.

"We are very excited about Alchemy's potential, which is why we are launching it a year early. We have taken steps to produce as much seed as possible for autumn 2005 sowing, so that anyone wanting to try an acreage should be able to do so," adds Mr Robinson.

This new variety, the latest to emerge from Nickerson's highly successful wheat breeding programme, has already sparked a great deal of interest despite only being added to the National List last December. It will enter Recommended List trials this year, with the prospect of becoming fully recommended in 2006.

Alchemy is classified a Group 4 variety, but offers several marketing options. It is a soft endosperm type, and early Chopin Alveograph results indicate the potential to fit into the UKS export category. Distilling data has also shown it to have high spirit yields, similar to Riband.

The physical grain characteristics of high specific weight and Hagberg falling number will help it meet the specifications of its target markets.

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