The distilling and soft feed varieties feed our main markets in Scotland and include some of the highest yielding examples in trials, but varieties for feed, biscuit and milling markets can include some useful agronomic traits as well as diversifying markets a bit. Yield and the target market are obviously major boxes to tick in selecting varieties for this autumn but other useful traits for us include disease resistance, with septoria, yellow rust and mildew all being key drivers of fungicide inputs (and costs). Resistance to lodging and earliness to mature can also be attractive traits that help to reduce risks and input costs.
Some of the key varieties to consider are summarised in the pen portraits below.
Distilling and soft feed (nabmin Group 4)
LG Skyscraper Is the leading soft Group 4 variety. It is high yielding (103) and rated medium for distilling. Untreated yield is intermediate (81), and resistance to Septoria tritici is poor. It is early maturing (0). It is tall but with good straw strength. It performs well as a second cereal.
Swallow A new variety with high yield (102) and a good rating for distilling. Untreated yield has been intermediate (79). It is early maturing (0) and has very stiff straw (8). Disease resistance is below average, including increased weakness to Septoria tritici.
LG Spotlight Retains a small market share as a distilling variety with excellent specific weight (78.0) and Hagberg falling number. Yield is competitive (101) and untreated yield intermediate (78). It has above average resistance to sprouting (7).
Elation An established choice among Scottish growers with good yield (101) and a good rating for distilling. Specific weight is very good (77.2). This stiff-strawed variety has poor untreated yield (75) and intermediate maturity (+1).
KWS Jackal Is an established variety with good yield (101) and a medium rating for distilling. Specific weight is below average (75.5) and untreated yield is poor (73).
LG Sundance Has become outclassed for yield (99). Its untreated yield remains relatively good (83), with the best resistance to Septoria tritici (7.9), though yellow rust has appeared in some crops. This medium-rated distilling variety has low specific weight (73.8) and Hagberg falling number.
Biscuit making and distilling (nabim Group 3)
Elicit Is an established dual-purpose biscuit-making and distilling variety. Yield is intermediate (100) and distilling use is rated good. It is early maturing (0) and has stiff straw. Untreated yield is intermediate (78).
LG Illuminate A new biscuit-making variety with a medium distilling rating. Limited data indicates a high yield (102). Untreated yield has been good (85), though resistance to Septoria may be weaker than its rating (7.0) suggests. This variety suits early drilling and use as a second wheat.
LG Prince Is a new biscuit-making variety with a medium rating for distilling. Limited data indicates an intermediate yield (101). Untreated yield has been intermediate (83), though resistance to Septoria may be weaker than its rating (7.1) suggests. It suits early drilling and the second wheat slot. Specific weight is lower than average (74.8), and maturity later than average (+2).
LG Astronomer A new biscuit-making variety with a medium distilling rating. Limited data indicates a below-average yield (98). Although untreated yield has been good (86), resistance to Septoria may be weaker than its rating (7.4) suggests. It has very good specific weight (77.8). This variety has a wide sowing window, including early drilling.
Other varieties of value in Scotland
KWS Barrel This Group 3 variety is still a popular biscuit-making and feed choice, but it is rated poor for distilling. Its yield (103) advantage over other varieties has slipped, and untreated yield is poor (71). It needs a robust fungicide programme. Specific weight is very good (77.2). It has stiff straw.
RGT Saki This soft Group 4 variety is for feed only as it is rated poor for distilling. It has high yield (102) and good untreated yield (85). However, resistance to Septoria may be weaker than its rating (6.5) suggests. It is later to mature (+3) and suits early drilling. It is also a good second cereal.
SY Insitor Is the highest yielding (105) hard Group 4 feed variety, with intermediate untreated yield (78). Specific weight is excellent (78.4) and Hagberg figures very good. Straw strength is below average (6) and needs stiffening. It has performed well as a second cereal.
Gleam Has been a consistent hard Group 4 feed variety. It has high yield (102), but poor untreated yield (74). It suits all soil types and is a good as a first or second wheat.
KWS Extase Is a Group 2 hard-milling variety with specific use in Scotland. It has very good specific weight (78.4) and Hagberg figures. It has modest yield (98) but has attracted interest because of excellent untreated yield (93), stiff straw and early maturity (-1). It is susceptible to reduced seed set, with the risk likely to increase at exposed sites, or if grown north of the Lothians. It should not be sown early.
Steve Hoad and Fiona Burnett, Scotland’s Rural College for the Farm Advisory Service
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