Arable News

  • Written by: Farmers Guide
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The sky’s the limit for top yielding Group 1 variety

Group 1 milling variety Skyfall looks setrevitalise the quality wheat growing sector in the UK predicts thetrade. Dominic Kilburn reports.

A new winter wheat variety which joined the 2014/15 Recommended List has the potential to revitalise the domestic milling wheat sector, claim industry experts. In addition, Skyfall, the highest yielding Group 1 variety at 102 per cent of controls and bred by RAGT, is set to have the biggest launch this season of any previous quality wheat variety.
Speaking at a recent RAGT-organised event attended by UK millers representative nabim, baker Warburtons and the graintrade, Gleadell trading manager Jonathan Lane said that there had been amarked decline in milling wheat plantings in the UK since 2009 (35 percent of plantings in 2009 down to 26 per cent in 2014), including ayear-on-year fall of 3 per cent for Group 1 varieties. Because of a big domestic demand for feed varieties, low milling wheat premiums and difficult weather conditions in recent years, growers have moved away from the quality wheats, however, if Skyfall can deliver both yield and quality, I think the variety could revitalise the domestic milling wheat market and get it back to where it was five or six year sago.
We want to target the professional growers who already grow milling wheat but we want them to grow a bit more, he added.
Openfields Lee Bennett suggested that disillusioned growers were already coming back into the market at the expense of some of the Group 4 barn-fillers and he predicted a sell-outyear for Skyfall. The variety is exciting; weve not seen anything like this for a long time and its got every chance of being our biggest selling variety across all crops this year and I have every confidence in it, he said.
RAGTs managing director Simon Howell confirmed that with 10,000t of C2 certified seedset to be planted this autumn, the launch of Skyfall will be the biggest ever for a quality wheat variety and it would be vying with other Group1 variety Crusoe for top spot in terms of market share. Much ofthe seed is already sold and we expect to be sold out by the Cerealsevent, he pointed out. 
Commercial tests Although promoted to the Recommended List last autumn with treated yields 46 per cent higher than other breadwheats and a strong agronomic profile including the first quality wheat to have both Pch1 eyespot resistance and resistance to OWBM Skyfall hasnt had it all its own way. The variety was the first to be put through nabims new commercial milling and baking tests this winter which have proved inconclusive because the grain available did not meet the full testing requirements. Therefore, according to nabim, Skyfall will retain its provisional Group 1 status for another year with further tests taking place in the autumn. Unfortunately, when the two commercial samples supplied were bulked together it was found that one had been heat damaged on the farm where it was produced and so nabim was unable to make the fullassessment, pointed out Simon Howell.
Nabim trade policy manager, Martin Savage added: The new testing system is about confidence in the supply chain but we always knew that unforeseen problems could arise and we anticipated that lessons would be learned inthe first year.
Skyfall is the first variety joining the RL to be tested in this way and it should not be overlooked that UK millers continue to recognise the strengths of this variety.

  • Written by: Farmers Guide
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