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Stackyard News Jun 07

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Battalion Milling Wheat Leader Launched at Cereals 2007

Cereals 2007 saw the official launch of the variety that seized the UK’s milling wheat yield crown in the 2007/8 HGCA Recommended List, with the added benefits of clearly superior nitrogen efficiency, excellent disease resistance and tolerance, and pre-eminent second wheat performance.


“Battalion is rated as a desirable Group 2 variety by UK millers, and has better water absorption properties than Einstein plus valuable export potential,” explains wheat breeder, Ed Flatman of RAGT Seeds. “Combining market-leading yields with Solstice-level protein contents, it delivers the best nitrogen efficiency of any currently listed variety, giving it a vital extra edge.”

Battalion’s edge is sharpened by a yield advantage over previous Group 2 leader, Einstein extending to fully 5% without fungicide treatment, where the new variety performs on a par with current low input yield leader, Alchemy.  This results from its excellent all-round disease package –  most notably, resistance ratings of  9 for brown rust, 7 for mildew and yellow rust, marked Septoria tritici tolerance and Pch1 eyespot resistance.

“Unsurprisingly for one of our robust wheats with the added value of the Pch1 gene, Battalion is proving to be an excellent second wheat,” he adds. “Indeed, it outperforms all other listed varieties in this rotational slot, including current second wheat favourites and varieties with equivalent Pch1 eyespot resistance.

“A combination of superior yield and quality with greater agronomic robustness for added reliability seems certain to give Battalion particular appeal to growers seeking yield with the possibility of a valuable extra premium.”

Two of the handful of growers who have brought Battalion to harvest to date, David Read and Christopher Renner believe the new Group 2 has much to offer. And David, in particular, has high hopes for  the variety as a second wheat.

He has 34 acres (14 ha) of Battalion in the ground as a second wheat at Barr Farm, Edlington near Horncastle this year, having grown it successfully as a first wheat in the same field in 2005/6.

“The variety did us well the first time we grew it, delivering just under 4t/acre (9.7 t/ha) from a mid-October drilling after sugar beet,” recalls David Read. “It was notably clean on our standard three-spray fungicide regime and, receiving 230 kg N/ha in three splits, stood very well too under our normal PGR programme.

“With its excellent second wheat performance in CEL trials, we’re very interested in seeing how well Battalion copes on a commercial scale. Mind you, it will have to go some to outperform the Gladiator we’ve found such a pleasing alternative to Malacca as a second wheat.”

Having found a lot of early brown rust in unsprayed Alchemy this year, David Read sees Battalion’s resistance rating of 9 for the disease alongside the same untreated yield as the otherwise excellent disease-rated feed wheat as a further valuable plus for the variety.

At Normanton Lodge Farm near Rutland Water, Christopher Renner is also happy with Battalion as a Group 2, although he didn’t grow it with anything like a milling regime last year, applying only 190 kg N/ha.

“We direct drilled 25 acres (10 ha) of Battalion in the first week of October following linseed,” he reports. “It established strongly, stayed clean and stood well, going on to produce  3.8 t/acre (9.4 t/ha) on our limestone brash.

“It wasn’t our highest yielding crop, but it was above our 3.7 t/acre (9.1 t/ha) 2006 farm average.  What’s more, it came in at a very pleasing 13.1% protein despite only modest fertilisation and the relatively tough challenge of direct drilling. This sort of nitrogen efficiency will be particularly valuable in a future of high N prices and growing environmental concerns.”

link Catana Oilseed Rape Launched at Cereals 2007
link Administrative nightmare for fruit and veg growers to be consigned to history
link Crop Market Update

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