Eight new winter wheat varieties have been added to the recently published HGCA Recommended List for 2009-10, providing farmers across the West Midlands and border counties with their biggest choice in years.
Richard Torr of Wynnstay Arable
“It has been a record year for new wheats,” explains top Shropshire based seedsman, Richard Torr of Wynnstay Arable. “This is the first time in many years that farmers across the region have had such a bumper choice of varieties to choose from. And the new varieties are spread across each of the four NABIM categories ensuring that there is a variety to suit every type of farming system.”
According to Mr Torr, some of the recommended varieties are more suitable than others for the mixed selection of arable and livestock farmers in the region.
“The new Group 1 variety Gallant looks like it has the potential to yield extremely well and should outperform Alchemy, which is currently the region’s most popular feed variety,” Mr Torr claims. “Gallant is also 5% higher yielding than Solstice, the leading bread-making wheat. It has similar grain and disease characteristics and, like Solstice, has the potential to attract a Group 1 bread-making premium.”
Of the three new additions in Group 2, Mr Torr recommends Panorama. “This variety has a 3% yield increase over the popular choice, Einstein. Panorama also boasts a stiff straw rating and improved disease resistance making it a useful addition to the portfolio of available varieties.”
Scout joins the list of recommended varieties in Group 3, and offers a superb agronomic package in the biscuit wheat category, including the characteristics necessary for early drilling. Meanwhile, in Group 4, Mr Torr believes that all three of the new additions to the Recommended List are suited to the region’s farms. “The feed wheat section sees the most additions with Viscount and Cassius being reclassified as Group 4 and not Group 3 as was expected throughout the trade,” he outlines.
“In addition to these two, Grafton has a great deal to offer. It has one of the stiffest straw ratings that we have seen for a long time, and is suited to early drilling. Grafton also matures earlier than all other feed varieties and this could help farmers to gain time at the end of each growing year. For farmers that are growing both wheat and oilseed rape this could be particularly beneficial in spreading the harvest workload across a wider timeframe and helping to get the next crop of oilseed rape established before the onset of winter.”
Seed of all the new varieties is now available from Wynnstay Arable in varying quantities for autumn sowing in 2009. But Mr Torr urges farmers to place their orders early, particularly for Gallant and Grafton which he believes are likely to be the most sought after varieties.
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