Higher yields and improved agronomics bring on-farm profitability

Leading the trend in producing varieties offering not only higher yields but also improved on-farm agronomics, Limagrain UK believes the recommendation of its two wheats, a spring barley and 2

Leading the trend in producing varieties offering not only higher yields but also improved on-farm agronomics, Limagrain UK believes the recommendation of its two wheats, a spring barley and 2 oilseed rape varieties to the 2017-2018 AHDB Recommended List, offer growers a real opportunity to improve profitability.

With an eye on how to improve farm margins, this year’s AHDB recommendations reflected the increased importance for varieties not only offering higher yields but also better disease resistance, grain quality and agronomics such as standing power.

“This approach reflects the strategy of the Limagrain breeding programme that has always aimed to produce high yielding, robust varieties that perform consistently on farm whilst meeting market specifications with varieties such as Crusoe and Revelation, and malting barley market leader Concerto”, says Les Daubney, cereals marketing director for Limagrain.

“It’s exciting to be in a position to offer new varieties to growers that take these offerings a step on with even higher yields and more robust agronomics.”


Joining the soft wheats on the AHDB Recommended List (RL) are LG Sundance and LG Motown. LG Sundance is a very high yielding soft feed winter wheat, with initial official testing suggesting that the variety meets the specifications for distilling and animal feed markets.

LG Sundance offers a yield of 104%, which is the joint highest yield of any wheat in this category, however LG Sundance also offers the highest septoria tritici resistance of any variety on the whole list (7.3), well over the previous highest rating of 6.8 from Siskin, says senior wheat breeder, Ed Flatman.


Ed Flatman

“This is the first time that a variety has joined the list as both a highest yielder and with the highest Septoria resistance, so it is very exciting news for the industry, and something that we have been working very hard to achieve.”

“LG Sundance also has excellent resistance to yellow rust, with a rating of 9. Mildew and brown rust are rated 6, so it’s an all-round package in terms of disease robustness.”

“The value of the overall resistances of LG Sundance are clear to see when you look at the untreated versus the treated yields as there is only a difference of 14%,  with the added bonus of OWBM resistance,” he adds.

He points out that these resistances have been extensively tested under very high disease pressures such as those in the 2015/16 season, so growers should have confidence in the ratings.

“LG Sundance offers flexibility in where and when it can be drilled; agronomic type and trials data to date have shown its suitability for the earlier drilling situation and also good performance in the second wheat slot. 

“With regards to quality, LG Sundance offers additional distilling market opportunities over standard feed wheat varieties; a valuable proposition for northern growers.”

The second soft wheat to be recommended from Limagrain is LG Motown, also a very high yielding variety with a yield of 103% offering a very good disease resistance profile, and is the earliest maturing of the soft feed wheats.  Its quality specifications suits both the distilling and animal feed markets.

“This early maturity of -1 for LG Motown against the standard of JB Diego is of significant value to oilseed rape growers or those in the north,” says Mr Flatman.

Mr Flatman points out that as with LG Sundance, the difference between treated at 103% and untreated at 89%, is only 14 % and is one of the lowest on the list, demonstrating how robust LG Motown is with regards to disease resistance.

“This is reflected in its excellent disease resistance package having a rating of 9 for yellow rust and 7 for brown rust, as well as 5.8 for septoria resistance with the bonus of OWBM resistance.”

“As far as testing the variety on farm, we have carried out trials over the seasons and locations to determine where our varieties sit best within the farm rotations and LG Motown has shown itself to be a very consistently performing variety both in the 1st and 2nd wheat situation. It is also suitable for the later drilling slot as it has a faster speed of development in the spring.”

Oilseed rape

The trend for producing higher yielding varieties that offer improved disease resistance has also been reflected in the oilseed rape recommendations. This year has been a particular success for Limagrain’s oilseed rape varieties, with two of the four varieties recommended coming from the UK-focussed breeding programme.

“The restored hybrid Aquila has shown very good gross output of 108%, and treated yield potential comparable to Elgar. On the basis of this has been placed onto the east/west list, although it’s worth noting that is has also performed very well in the north (107%.), ” says senior oilseed rape breeder Dr Vasilis Gegas.

“Its agronomic characteristics make it suitable for a range of situations both in the south and further north, he says.

” It is a vigorous variety, with a stiff stem and a very good disease resistance package with a 6 for light leaf spot and 8 for stem canker. This is one of the best combinations of yield and disease resistance on the RL, and makes the variety stand out well above over other hybrids such as Windozz, Alizze and Wembley.”

“Aquila has very good pod shatter tolerance which is an increasingly important characteristic when growers are looking to make the most of their oilseed rape crops, and avoid losses at any stage of the season.”

After its excellent performance last season, in both north and east-west trials, Nikita has gained recommendation on both lists, after initially being approved just for the north, proving that is a UK-wide top performing variety.

“Despite the challenges of the last season, Nikita still managed to take a top position on the RL in terms of Gross output at 108% in the east-west and 109% in the north, and this is down to its solid seed yield and excellent oil content, being one of the highest on the RL in this category, at 46.3%.”

“Nikita has had a consistently high yielding performance over the past two years and this is because the variety is backed up by robust genetics that suit a range of diverse conditions,” notes  Dr Gegas.

“It’s light leaf spot (LLS) rating of 7, makes it one of the highest on the Recommended List. Varieties with high LLS ratings show significantly better natural resistance compared to other varieties providing that bit of breathing space required to treat the crops, and should be selected as an important element in the fight against this very damaging and increasingly high threat disease.”

“We have seen from the results of last season, that whilst the variety has a lower rating for Phoma, this can be easily controlled with a  good autumn spray programme, with no detrimental effect on yield.”

“Nikita is a short stemmed variety, shorter than the other top yielding varieties Elgar and Flamingo, and combined with good lodging resistance, and a medium earliness to flower and mature, as well as good vigour, it really is a very farmer friendly variety.”

Spring barley

LG Opera is one of three new spring barleys that have been added to the RL; LG Opera is an exciting dual purpose, non GN prospect for the malting market, which means that it is suitable for brewing and distilling.

“We have seen LG Opera produce consistently high yields over seasons and regions, in both treated and untreated national list trials. It offers comparable or better yield potential against the market leaders in all three IBD malting sectors , with a 15% step up in yield over market favourite Concerto, which remains the most popular variety in Scotland.” says Mr Daubney.

LG Opera is moderately short strawed, with good lodging resistance and earlier ripening -an important trait for growers in the north.  The variety also has a good disease resistance profile, with a rating of 5 for the major disease, Rhynchosporium.

“Of course recommendation is just the first stage in the uptake of a new spring barley, further testing and approvals by the Institute of Brewing and Distilling will have implications on how well the variety is taken up by the end-users, and this is critical for the success of a malting barley variety.”

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