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Fewer new cereal and oilseed varieties appear on the latest Recommended List – but a number of improvements make it easer to decide which... Best varieties are highlighted on easier-to-navigate lists

Fewer new cereal and oilseed varieties appear on the latest Recommended List – but a number of improvements make it easer to decide which are most suitable for different situations and markets.

The 2024/25 list is shorter for most major crops. But it features several eye-catching additions, including the first BYDV-tolerant six-row hybrid winter barley, the first new provisional UKFM Group 1 winter wheat since 2017 and a barn-filling Group 3 winter wheat.”

Improvements

There are also improvements to the tables – and information on verticillium stem stripe resistance in oilseed rape for the first time, says list manager Paul Gosling, of the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board.

“The Recommended List review has resulted in numerous changes to the lists. Leaner lists will be welcomed by many. But quality remains high, with several exciting new additions.”

Anniversary

This year is the 80-year anniversary of the first recommended list and the list continues to evolve to meet the changing needs of farmers. In response to grower feedback, the online tables have been made easier to navigate.

The Recommended List app includes a new feature to allow a side-by-side comparison of varieties. Updated 2024/25 data will appear on the app this month.

Other updates include an archive tool to help farmers and agronomists identify the year when varieties were first and last listed.

A paper-based booklet, due out in January, will feature major changes to the table designs and extensive information about the crop trials involved. This will walk growers through the recommendation process.

Two calls for scoping reviews have been issued to examine evidence of varietal responses under lower-input scenarios for nitrogen and fungicide applications. Some other review recommendations will take longer or not be practical or affordable.

Mr Gosling explains: “We are also looking at ways to maximise the value of Recommended List  data already collected to provide new varietal insights. Whatever the next steps, we will keep users of the list informed about major developments.”

Growers invited to join crop committees

Growers, grain traders and plant pathologists are being invited to join the influential crop committees which steer the direction of the Recommended Lists.

The invitation comes as findings are implemented from the latest review of the variety trialling project which helps determine which seeds arppear on the recommended list. The AHDB says this makes it a fantastic time to be a crop committee member.

Five vacancies need to be filled this winter. They include one grower and two grain traders for the barley and oats and other cereals crop committee; and one grower and one independent pathologist for the Oilseeds Crop Committee vacancies.

RL leader Paul Gosling said: “Each winter, we look for passionate people to join our crop committees to be at the heart of the recommendation of cereal and oilseed varieties for the UK. This year is the 80-year anniversary of the first recommended list.”

He added: “Crop committee members will respond to the findings from the latest list review to ensure the project continues its evolution and delivers appropriate variety options in an impartial, timely and cost-effective way.”

To apply, email Paul Gosling at paul.gosling@ahdb.org.uk. The application deadline is 19 January 2024.