Trio of Wheats Offer £150/Ha More Than Control Varieties

June 2013

Growers will have a chance to try out a trio of top-yielding winter wheats this autumn to partner current front-runners KWS Santiago and JB Diego.

According to leading UK wheat breeder, KWS UK, enough seed should be available to take high yielding Group 4 variety KWS Kielder to an 8% market share this autumn.

Supply for top yielding soft Group 4, Leeds, will be tight, with strong interest expected in the north for distilling, in the west as a result of its excellent fusarium rating and in the east for export.

At the same time, the hard Group 4 KWS Gator, is also likely to sell out with the focus being on its outstanding second wheat performance.

“Growers now have a wide range of high-yielding wheats for every site and situation,” says the breeder’s combinable crops manager, Julie Goult.† “The trick is to pick them for the right place on farm and hence maximise margins.”

Speaking at a press launch, Ms Goult pointed out that compared to control yields, the very best Group 4s, across a range of sites, soils and situations, offered around £150/ha more in terms of gross output at today’s wheat prices.

Top yielding 2013/14 Recommended List newcomer, KWS Kielder has yields which are 3.8% ahead of JB Diego.† However, according to KWS wheat breeder Mark Dodds, 2012’s damp, dull season trimmed its wings and the variety couldn’t fulfil its yield potential.

“In 2010 and 2011 KWS Kielder was the top yielding variety with yields 5% and 4% above Santiago, but like a number of later maturing varieties it just didn’t like the sunless conditions last summer.”

Mr Dodds says that KWS Kielder is an ideal variety for medium to heavy land and like all high yielding feed wheats it is a high input, high output variety.† “It is shorter and stiffer than KWS Santiago and this makes it an ideal variety for more fertile situations where growers can push it hard for yield.”

Kielder also yields well as a second wheat, but Mr Dodds says that growers would be better off choosing KWS Gator in this slot.† “In terms of raw yield Gator matches Santiago and Kielder in RL second wheat trials, but it excels in terms of maintaining specific weight in this more stressful growing situation.

“With 4% more yield than current second wheat favourite JB Diego, KWS Gator is a variety worth taking a look at. The characteristic of performing in more stressful situations can also be seen in earlier sowings and particularly on light land where Gator is also an excellent choice.”

At 109% of controls, Leeds is the outstanding performer in the north region trials and – thanks to its outstanding fusarium resistance - is one of a handful of varieties that saw its yield increase in 2012 compared to the two previous years.

“It is bred in France, where they pay greater attention to fusarium and in our trials it stood out and was clearly the best variety for resistance to a disease which had a huge effect on curtailing yield in 2012.”

Leeds is a soft wheat and has been given a clear thumbs up by the Scottish Whisky Research Institute.† They say it gives a consistent good alcohol yield comparable to the likes of Viscount and Beluga and has no issues with viscosity.† “Its alcohol yield per tonne of grain will be up there with the best available and with its outstanding Northern yields it is an excellent fit for this region,” says Mark Dodds.

“In the West, Leeds is the highest yielding soft wheat on the UK Recommended List and in this wetter region, where maize is more widely grown, growers will benefit from its fusarium resistance.† But, don’t ignore it in the East, again it is the highest yield soft wheat and it will suit uks export cargoes,” he says.

Looking at seed supplies for this autumn, Ms Goult suggested that despite the difficult start to the season, supply and demand should be in balance.† “Trade intelligence suggests that current seed production estimates of the three leading feed varieties, KWS Santiago, KWS Kielder and JB Diego should meet needs, but anyone wanting Leeds and KWS Gator, should bring forward their orders as supplies could be tight,” she said.