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Two milestone winter cereal varieties from breeder Syngenta have been added to the AHDB Recommended Lists for 2024-25 – one winter wheat and one... Two milestone varieties on wheat and barley lists

Two milestone winter cereal varieties from breeder Syngenta have been added to the AHDB Recommended Lists for 2024-25 – one winter wheat and one winter barley.

Winter wheat SY Cheer is a potential bread-making variety rated as a provisional Group 1 by UK Flour Millers (UKFM). It is also the first new addition to the Group 1 section of the AHDB winter wheat RL since 2017, says Syngenta seeds marketing manager Kathryn Hamlen.

“We see it as a quality wheat made simple,” says Mrs Hamlen. “It is an exciting variety.”

Final UKFM classification on the quality of SY Cheer is expected in spring 2024. Usefully in the Group 1 category, SY Cheer provides a practical combination of high grain quality, high yields and robust foliar disease resistance.

Treated yields

As well as a UK treated yield of 97% of control varieties on the RL, SY Cheer has given consistently high treated yields across all UK regions, only varying by 1% point.

“From a quality perspective, its key features include high figures for both Hagberg Falling Number and specific weight among Group 1 RL winter wheat varieties – with figures of 299 and 79.5 kg/hl respectively.”

A variety that starts from a high quality base can give a useful buffer for protecting milling premiums, says Mrs Hamlen. This can be particularly useful, for example, during wet harvests which can cause Hagbergs to suffer, she adds.

The disease resistance ratings for SY Cheer, of a 6 against Septoria tritici, 7 against yellow rust and 6 against brown rust, give it a good foundation against these three major UK pathogens. This disease resistance drives its high untreated yield, explains Mrs Hamlen.

Hybrid barley

Meanwhile, hybrid feed variety SY Buzzard has been added to the winter barley Recommended List. It is the first Syngenta hybrid on the list bringing tolerance to the damaging, aphid-borne disease of barley yellow dwarf virus (BYDV).

“Left uncontrolled, BYDV can reduce winter barley yield by as much as half,” says Syngenta seeds technical expert Ben Urquhart. “Importantly, as well as BYDV tolerance, SY Buzzard also maintains the other usual hybrid barley characteristics.

“These include high and stable yield, good specific weight, suppression of certain grass weeds, early maturity and efficient utilisation of nitrogen fertiliser. Hybrid barley also has flexible end uses – including feed grain, but also wholecrop for either anaerobic digestion or forage.”

Notable performance

Yield-wise, SY Buzzard brings a high UK treated yield of 103% of control varieties on the new winter barley  recommended list. It has particularly notable yield performance in East Anglia, where it achieved 104% of controls.

“It combines these yields with good disease resistance, including the highest resistance rating of 7 to net blotch on the 2024-25 winter barley list – plus good resistance to lodging and a low level of brackling.

“It is also early to mature, with a rating of -1. An early harvest can be important for farm cash flow and to provide a good entry for winter oilseed rape.”

In Syngenta trials where winter barley was inoculated with aphids infected with BYDV, Mr Urquhart says reduced visual symptoms of yellowing and dwarfing were seen in SY Buzzard compared with a non-tolerant variety. So too was a lower level of yield degradation, he adds.