The AHDB Recommended List saw the addition of four new wheat varieties available to market for crop 2019.
With many of my growers in the south seeking more information on these additions, I thought it would be worthwhile taking a look at the pros and cons of each as well as investigating how they compare against current options.
1. RGT Gravity: Group 4 Hard (RAGT)
One word comes to mind when we look at Gravity – yield. It is the highest yielding 1st and 2nd wheat available and has consistently shown this throughout 2015, 2016 and 2017.
Based on AHDB figures of 10.7t/ha and feed wheat being £135 per tonne, Gravity outperforms Graham by £101/ha and Costello by £115/ha.
Other benefits include its flexibility as a good 1st or 2nd wheat – it can be drilled in either light or heavy land successfully. It can also go in much later than other varieties, including Kerrin, Costello and Shabras.
One negative aspect of Gravity would be its mildew score but this is manageable and the yield bonus should outweigh this issue.
2. Gleam: Group 4 Hard (Syngenta)
This is another high-yielding addition to the list, with only Gravity defeating Gleam. In fact, ordinarily, you might think it would be overshadowed by Gravity altogether but Gleam comes with some differentiators that help it find a market of its own.
You can start drilling from mid-September – only Grafton as an exception would go in earlier. Another positive for Gleam would be the early harvest for such a high-yielding variety; this makes it a good management option next to Kerrin, Gravity or Santiago.
Gleam also shows an overall stronger disease resistance across the board when compared with Gravity.
3. KWS Jackal: Group 4 Soft
If you have previously grown Revelation or Leeds, this variety is definitely one to look at as it is essentially a 'new and improved' version.
As with the other additions, it's another yield-champion to be added to the list; with a 6% advantage over last year's best selling Group 4, Soft Revelation. Using AHDB yield figures for the north and £135/tonne as a feed base, 6% equates to £86.67/ha margin over Revelation.
When it comes to drilling, KWS Jackal can withstand activity as early as 10th September because of its slower development. It will result in an early harvest but this does benefit some.
The above, alongside Jackal's strong disease profile – particularly for Mildew and yellow rust – makes it hard to justify sticking with old favourites like Leeds.
4. Elicit: Group 3 Soft (Elsoms)
Of all the new additions, this is probably the most exciting variety to come in this season. In fact, it almost sells itself solely on its risk management.
Elicit has an excellent disease resistance profile and very good standing ability, all with little sacrifice in yield. Only KWS Barrel out-performs Elicit in the Group 3s with regard to yield but then Elicit has a much more favourable septoria score.
Another big bonus is Elicit's flexibility in fungicide programmes. The variety performed very well in response to fungicide trials and could cope with some slightly mistimed treatments if other varieties are more in need of spraying time.
Biscuit wheat premiums have held their own recently and, as a result, are becoming a popular choice for growers. This however cannot be guaranteed every year and with that in mind, Elicit could be a good option to grow as a feed variety with a high yield potential plus a high specific weight of 77.7 kg/hl.
This summer, we're hosting 3D Thinking Open Days across two dates at our Malshanger site in Hampshire. As well as updating you on the latest crop production solutions, trials and proven results from our research, your local Frontier experts will also be showcasing these four new wheat varieties for you to see firsthand.
For specific advice for your business related to this blog or any other aspect of crop production, please get in touch with Frontier.