Part 2 – This month Richard Fenwick turns his attention to the latest varieties added to the HGCA Recommended List late last year
In the January edition of Farmers Guide, independent variety consultant Richard Fenwick gave his views on the new additions of winter wheat varieties to the HGCA Recommended List. This month he turns his attention to the latest oilseed rape, barley and other cereal varieties added late last year.Oilseed rape
It’s been a bumper year for new oilseed rape varieties with four new ones added to the East/West List (basically for England and Wales), all of which have given gross outputs better or equal to those currently being grown. Incentive, a hybrid variety from DSV, tops the new List with a gross output of 105 per cent, some 2 per cent higher than current market leading hybrid PR46W21 and 4 per cent above leading conventional variety DK Cabernet. It is stiff stemmed, has high oil content and has useful resistance to light leaf spot with a score of 6.Although predominantly a disease of northern climes, light leaf spot is becoming more prevalent across southern Britain and will increasingly need to be taken into account. The only downside of Incentive is its weakness to phoma stem canker with a resistance score of 4, and this will need managing. Incentive is the only one of the four new varieties to make it onto the Northern List where it also tops the List, so this means that it is likely that the variety will become of major interest throughout the UK in the future. This is one variety which is well worth considering for sowing in autumn 2014.Harper, another hybrid variety, from Bayer CropScience, with a gross output of 103 per cent doesn’t quite match the high level of Incentive but it has equally stiff stems, is earlier to mature and has excellent resistance to stem canker with a rating of 9. This is the first variety to get onto the Recommended List from Bayer. If you are concerned about controlling phoma in the autumn then Harper is certainly a variety to consider since it has a competitive yield with no downsides.The remaining two varieties to be added to the Recommended List are both conventional types which will please those growers who like to save their own seed, which cannot be done with a hybrid. The more interesting of the two is Trinity, from Elsoms, since it is a good all-round package with no real weaknesses. With a gross output of 104 per cent it is up there with the best of the hybrids. It has moderately short, stiff stems, medium maturity and high oil content. It also has a strong disease resistance package with a score of 5 for light leaf spot and 6 for stem canker. I think Trinity will suit those growers who have grown DK Cabernet but want a slightly earlier flowering variety with a higher gross output.Although Charger, from KWS, has a slightly higher gross output than Trinity, at 105 per cent and has short stiff stems, it has lower oil content and not very good disease resistance, being rated 4 for both light leaf spot and stem canker. With light leaf spot becoming more important in the south and phoma an ever present risk I think growers will be looking for varieties with better resistance than this.
Four varieties were removed from the List; Excalibur, Dimension, Flash and Thorin. The only one of these removals worthy of note is Excalibur because it is still a very popular variety with many growers. However since its gross output is now at the 99 per cent level perhaps it is time to look at some of the newer varieties mentioned above for drilling this autumn. Winter barley
The number of varieties on the Recommended List of winter barley is much less than that for winter wheat but at 21 is still a large number for what is now a relatively minor crop, if grown at all, for most growers. Three new varieties were added to the List, all of which are 2-row feed types with resistance to barley yellow mosaic virus.KWS Tower (106 per cent) joins the List with the same yield potential as top yielding 2-row variety KWS Glacier. It came through the trialling system at the same time as Glacier and was originally destined to be called KWS Discovery but its progress was held up last year until it attained National List status. It is very similar in all respects to Glacier and I find it difficult to believe it will make much progress now that Glacier has a foothold in the market place and is well on the way to becoming the main feed variety grown.Tetris (106 per cent), from Syngenta, also has the same yield potential as KWS Glacier but has longer and slightly weaker straw. The only things I can see that may give this variety an advantage over Glacier, particularly for growers in the West, are its longer straw for the livestock farmer and its good resistance to the wet weather disease rhynchosporium.Cavalier, from Limagrain, has been recommended for the North region only where it has given a good yield, higher than Glacier. It has moderate straw strength and mediocre disease resistance but is relatively early to mature which northern growers will appreciate. However it will have to compete against the hybrid 6-rows which have a good following in that region and which have given slightly higher yields.Four varieties were removed from the Recommended List; KWS Joy, Mezmaar, Soloman and Suzuka. The first three had only been on the List for one year but failed to find approval as malting varieties. Suzuka has been superseded by better varieties.
So once again we have some new feed varieties on the List which I find difficult to see making a great deal of progress against the likes of KWS Glacier and KWS Cassia. For the malting barley grower the choice remains with the old favourite Cassata or the up and coming SY Venture.Spring barley
At first glance, the spring barley Recommended List seems unduly long with 26 varieties on it, particularly as, prior to 2013, the crop did not feature highly on most arable farms, particularly in the main cereal growing areas. However it must be remembered that the Recommended List is a UK List and also caters for Scotland and Northern Ireland where spring barley remains a very important crop and where the end-use requirements are different from those in the rest of the UK. Hence the List caters for all.Five new varieties were added, four of which have malting potential for brewing use (but not distilling) and one feed type. KWS Irina (109 per cent) heads the List with a yield potential 5 per cent ahead of Propino, the main malting variety now grown in England. It is a short strawed variety with good resistance to mildew but not to brown rust or rhynchosporium. Ratings for the foliar disease ramularia have now been added to the Recommended List of spring barleys and Irina has relatively good resistance to this disease. Ramularia is mainly confined to the northern half of the country but growers in the south should be aware of it since it can be found particularly in a wet season.Shaloo (108 per cent), from Syngenta, has also given higher yields than Propino. It has good resistance to mildew and rhynchosporium but not to ramularia. KWS Aurelia (107 per cent) has given 3 per cent more yield than Propino and has good mildew and ramularia resistance but is very susceptible to rhynchosporium. Hacker (105 per cent) from Agrii is only 1 per cent higher yielding than Propino but is early maturing with no major disease weaknesses.With four new potential malting varieties to consider, all higher yielding than the best one currently grown, are they worth growing? Well, my advice is to wait and see what the maltsters make of them because any or all of them could fail to make the grade. These decisions will not be announced until the time of the Cereals event in June so it’s best to wait until then and have a think about them for sowing in spring 2015. There are 11 spring barley feed varieties on the Recommended List which is an incredibly large number for the amount of feed spring barley grown in the UK. The most widely grown variety is Westminster which at 95 per cent is the lowest yielding one on the List, but it is popular because of its long straw, good all-round disease resistance and bold grain. The new variety added to the feed List this year is Shada (110 per cent), from Syngenta, at 15 per cent higher yielding than Westminster. It has short straw, less good disease resistance and not such a bold grain so I fear it is yet another high yielding, failed malting variety which adds to the long list of feed varieties which will probably not be grown.Two varieties were removed from the Recommended List, Chronicle and Shuffle, both of which failed to make acceptance as malting varieties after being recommended, hence my advice to wait until a variety is fully approved by the maltsters before committing to it.Other cereals
The so-called ‘minor ‘cereals also saw some new additions to their ranks this year. KWS Kilburn is a spring wheat variety which is currently only recommended for spring sowing because not enough information has yet been obtained to determine its performance as a late autumn sown variety. But I see no reason why it should not be used for this purpose also. It is a very high yielding variety with good disease resistance but is not suitable for bread making. I see this variety being used as a replacement on non-drilled winter wheat land when it could be sown from the late autumn through to spring, whenever conditions allow, yet still give a reasonable yield and the harvested grain put onto the main winter wheat heap in store.Four new oat varieties were added to the Lists; two winter and two spring types. Rhapsody, from Senova, is a conventional husked winter oat which comes in with the highest yield on the List at 109 per cent. It has good disease resistance but rather weak straw so would need PGR treatment. Beacon, also Senova, is the other new winter oat variety and is a naked oat type. It has given a similar yield to Grafton, the main one grown, but has much better mildew resistance. Monaco (Firlbeck/Senova) is a conventional husked spring oat which tops the List for yield at 104 per cent. It is a relatively short strawed variety like Firth but does not have such good grain quality or mildew resistance. Conway (Senova) is also a conventional husked spring oat with a similar yield to Firth and equally good grain quality and mildew resistance.