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Poor weather has resulted in disappointing yields for the first trials of recommended list winter wheats this harvest. Disappointing yields for trials of recommended winter wheats

• Initial yields below five-year average

• Challenging season hampers yields

• More results will become available

Poor weather has resulted in disappointing yields for the first trials of recommended list winter wheats this harvest.

This season’s first harvest results were published on 16 August by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board. They included four fungicide-treated sites in Suffolk, Devon, Kent and Cheshire – and a fungicide-untreated trial in Devon.

The average yield of control varieties in the fungicide treated trials stood at 10.74 t/ha – some 0.34t/ha below the five-year average of 11.08t/ha  – although this is likely to change as more results become available.

Trials were drilled in good conditions, with crops doing well during the mild autumn – going into spring in good condition. But a wet April and May gave septoria a big boost, despite a robust spray programme.

Initial results

Group 4 hard varieties led on yield. SY Insitor achieved (107% of controls) Next were Champion and KWS Dawson (both 106%). Then came Group 4 soft RGT Bairstow (105%); and Group 4 hard Oxford (105%); followed by Group 4 soft LG Redwald (104%).

Group 3 varieties performed close to their five-year averages. Top were KWS Guium and RGT Rashid  (101%), followed by KWS Brium and LG Prince (100%). RGT Wilkinson achieved 94%, well below its five-year average but more results are due.

Group 1 Skyfall performed well (100%) with other Group 1s close to their five-year averages. Group 2 varieties also performed close to their five-year averages with KWS Ultimatum (101%) just ahead of KWS Extase (100%).

Specialist variety RGT Wolverine, with a specific recommendation for resistance to barley yellow dwarf virus (BYDV), yielded 101%. This variety performed well again at the Devon site where it was equal second highest yielding.

Five-year average

The 2023 results show yields based on one season. The five-year average is a better measure of variety performance over seasons (2019 to 2023). With few trials in yet these results largely reflect the recommended list.

Current good performers include Group 4 hard variety Champion (106%), Group 4 soft LG Redwald (106%), Group 4 hard KWS Dawsum and SY Insitor (both on 104%). Next were Group 4 hard Oxford, and Group 4 soft varieties Gleam and RGT Bairstow (all 103%).

Group 3s

For Group 3s, KWS Guium (101%) led the way ahead of KWS Brium, RGT Wilkinson and LG Prince (all 100%). Highest Group 2s were KWS Extase and KWS Ultimatum (101%) with the highest Group 1 being KWS Zyatt (98%) followed by Skyfall (96%).

The AHDB said data could only be shown for varieties that had completed their national listing. The five-year averages were the best measure for assessing the potential of the candidates over multiple seasons, it added.

Potential bread making varieties are KWS Dragum (102%) and SY Cheer (98%). Potential Group 3 biscuit varieties are Bamford (105%), LG Arkle (102%) LG Grendal (101%) and Almara (99%).

Hard feed candidates LG Beowulf (106%), Bolinder and LG Redrum (104%) performed well on yield, followed by soft Group 4 Blackstone (103%). A clearer pattern of candidate performance will develop as the season progresses.

The full trial results are available at