Latest Recommended Lists ‘reset’ to meet complex agronomic challenges

Monday, 30 November 2020

AHDB’s online edition of the Recommended Lists for cereals and oilseeds (RL) 2021/22 features major changes to wheat rust disease-resistance ratings.

Launched today (30 November 2020), the edition also sees the introduction of new disease ratings for winter rye (brown rust) and winter triticale (yellow rust).

Offering a rich mixture of broad-appeal and niche varieties, the new RL acts as a foundation for integrated pest management (IPM) and brings opportunities for a wide range of markets.

Paul Gosling, who manages the RL at AHDB, said: “The wheat brown rust and yellow ratings are now weighted, so the most recent years’ results have the largest influence on the rating. This approach makes the rating more sensitive to changes in rust populations, while still building on a valuable three-year data set.

“For wheat yellow rust and spring oat mildew, we have also changed the way we calculate disease ratings, relative to our susceptible and resistant variety fixed points. This ‘reset’ means, compared with the previous edition, the same amount of disease will result in a lower rating score. For rust, some varieties have dropped by as much as three rating points. We stress this is largely due to the way we calculate the ratings, rather than an indication of a major shift in rust races in 2020.”

The RL sees five new Group 3 biscuit winter wheats added, some with potential for distilling and export. Two new hard Group 4s provide extra options for growers, including one that brings a specific recommendation for resistance to Barley yellow dwarf virus (BYDV) to the RL for the first time. A new soft Group 4 variety with excellent distilling quality also features for the North region.

Five new feed varieties feature on the list for winter barley. Three new two-row varieties offer improved yield, as well as good agronomics and quality. Two new six-row varieties offer better disease resistance and untreated yields, combined with good quality characteristics.

The two new spring barley varieties bring welcome advances. One is under test for brewing and potentially offers large yield increases over the current market leaders. The other, a feed barley, delivers strong yield and good overall agronomics.

For the first time, the winter oilseed rape list includes pod-shatter resistance data. The five new varieties, all hybrids, bring modest improvements in yield and disease resistance, compared with established varieties. Although most carry recommendation for the East/West region, a new recommendation for the UK offers particularly strong yields for the North region.

The RL 2021/22, which sees the addition of 21 and the removal of 25 varieties, can be accessed online. The print edition will be available later this winter. The RL web pages also feature details of the new disease-rating approach.

Recommended Lists home page

Variety comments

Winter wheat variety comments

New Group 3 biscuit wheat LG Prince combines group-leading UK treated yield (103% of control varieties), with good disease resistance, though the lower specific weight of 74.8 kg/hl may not suit everyone. Stablemate from Limagrain, LG Illuminate, is just behind on UK treated yield (102%) and offers better specific weight, at 76.6 kg/hl, and a good disease package. Its earlier maturity (+1), good northern yield and distilling potential may attract northern growers. LG Quasar offers a similar package to LG Illuminate, with slightly lower quality, while LG Astronomer, though a little behind on yield, has a very good disease-resistance package, including a septoria tritici rating of 7.4, combined with a specific weight of 77.8 kg/hl. However, a mildew rating of 4 and North yield of 98% may limit its appeal. The last of the new biscuit wheats is Merit from Elsoms, which is recommended for the East. Its yield in the East is especially good and a Hagberg Falling Number of 255 and specific weight of 76.5 kg/hl will prove attractive. Its disease-resistance package is only let down by a mildew rating of 3. All new soft Group 3s have resistance to orange wheat blossom midge.

The other new winter wheats also have interesting stories. KWS Cranium (hard Group 4) has good UK treated yield (104%), a reasonable disease-resistance package and quality (Hagberg Falling Number of 277 and specific weight of 75.4 kg/hl). However, it is its late-sown yield (sown after 1 November) of 108% of controls that stands out. Although based on a more limited data set, it will pique the interest of many growers, especially those with one eye on black-grass control.

The other new hard Group 4 feed wheat is RAGT Wolverine – first to be awarded the new specialist BYDV-resistant category. However, its yield is a little behind the leading feed varieties, and resistance ratings of 5.3 for septoria and 5 for yellow rust may put off some growers.

The final new winter wheat is the soft Group 4 variety Swallow, with recommendation for the North region. The limited data reveals it has a relatively early and good yield, which will appeal to northern growers. However, its main talking point is that it has been rated good for distilling, with consistent performance over the last three years – comfortably outperforming all other varieties in 2020 distilling tests.

Spring barley variety comments

The only new spring barley variety on test for brewing, Skyway from Agrii, offers a significant yield improvement over the market leaders, with the UK treated yield of 106% of controls, with a similar yield in the East and 103% in the North and 108% in the West (based on limited data). Specific weight is very good at 68.7 kg/hl. Although data is limited, good disease resistance is suggested by its untreated yield of 96%. The success of Skyway will, as with all malting varieties, depend on its malting qualities in a commercial situation. Farmers should speak to merchants before growing such varieties to help establish the market potential.

The single spring barley feed variety added is Cadiz from Senova, with recommendation for the East and West regions – with treated yields of 105% and 106%, respectively (based on limited data). Its untreated yield of 94% suggests good disease resistance. Specific weight is good at 67.4 kg/hl.

Winter barley variety comments

Three new two-row feed barley varieties all sport UK treated yields of 106% of controls. KWS Tardis has a specific weight of 69.1 kg/hl, with a good disease package and untreated yield. Bolton, from Elsoms Ackermann, also has a good specific weight (68.6 kg/hl) and disease package. Bordeaux, from Senova, has a very good specific weight of 69.9 kg/hl. Although it comes with a reasonable disease package, a disease rating of 4 for rhynchosporium and net blotch might deter growers in wetter regions.

Two new six-row hybrid feed varieties, from Syngenta, show improved disease resistance and good yields. SY Kingston has a treated UK yield of 107%, excellent specific weight of 69.7 kg/hl, a good disease package and an untreated yield of 88%. SY Thunderbolt, also with 107% UK treated yield, has a specific weight of 69.6 kg/hl, a good disease-resistance package and an untreated yield of 88%. Both varieties are also relatively early maturing (-1).

Winter oilseed rape variety comments

The five new winter oilseed rape varieties are all hybrids. With UK recommendation, LG Aviron equals the top-yielding variety in the East/West region at 109% of control gross output. It also has a good northern yield at 105%, making it the second-highest yielding variety in the North. It also features good disease resistance, including to Turnip yellows virus (TuYV), in addition to pod-shatter resistance. LG Antigua is recommended for the East/West region and equals the East/West yield of LG Aviron (109%). It also has good disease resistance (including TuYV) and pod-shatter resistance. Also recommended for the East/West region, DK Expectation, from Bayer, has a gross output of 107%. Its good disease package includes a resistance rating of 8 for stem canker, as well as TuYV resistance and pod-shatter resistance. A further East/West recommendation is Respect, from LS Plant Breeding, with a gross output of 106% and a stem canker resistance score of 8. However, it lacks pod-shatter and TuYV resistance. The final addition is the herbicide-tolerant variety DK Imprint CL, from Bayer, with UK recommendation. It has an East/West gross output of 95% and North gross output of 91%. Once again, stem canker resistance is good (rating of 8) and it features pod-shatter resistance. The variety has a light leaf spot rating of 6 but does not have TuYV resistance.