When making variety choices check for the best balance of disease resistance, maturity, straw stiffness and grain quality.
Many varieties in trials in the south-east of Scotland and north of England have been infected with yellow rust, even those with a resistance rating of 8 or 9. Changes in disease resistance ratings are likely as the UK Cereal Pathogen Virulence Survey and the AHDB compile new data from harvest 2019.
Winter wheat varieties with soft endosperm remain the most important choices for Scottish growers in meeting the needs of the grain distilling sector. The nabim soft Group 4 category for distilling and feed use include well-established varieties such as Viscount, Leeds, Revelation, LG Motown and LG Sundance along with the more recently introduced KWS Jackal and Elation, and new varieties LG Skyscraper and LG Spotlight. Some Group 3 biscuit-making varieties such as Zulu and Elicit also suit distilling use. For hard feed wheat, Gleam and RGT Gravity are the top choices, whilst a new hard milling variety KWS Extase may have a place with outstanding untreated yield.
North region yields are given as a % of fungicide-treated controls (11.2 t/ha). Untreated yield is a % of UK treated controls (11.2 t/ha).
Elation: This is soft feed variety is rated good for distilling. It has high yield potential , with moderate untreated yield . Specific weight is good and Hagberg figures are moderate. Resistance to Septoria tritici is poor. It has performed well as second wheat and also suits lighter textured soils.
Elicit: A biscuit-making variety that is rated good for distilling. Compared to Zulu, it has improved treated  and untreated  yield, with similar maturity and higher specific weight, but lower Hagberg figures. It has good resistance to yellow rust and Septoria tritici.
Gleam: A hard feed variety with very good treated  and untreated  yield. It is relatively early maturing and has no severe disease weaknesses. It suits all soil types and looks relatively strong in the second cereal position.
KWS Barrel: A Group 3 variety with biscuit making quality, but is rated poor for distilling. It has short stiff-straw and has produced very high treated high yields , though the untreated yield is poor . It has performed particularly well on lighter soils. Although it has a high rating for yellow rust resistance, infection has been high in crop trials. It is very susceptible to Septoria tritici and eyespot, but has orange wheat blossom midge resistance.
KWS Extase: This new Group 2 variety has a competitive yield , with an outstanding untreated yield  and a top rating for Septoria tritici resistance [8.1]. It has very good grain characteristics: including high protein levels, Hagberg falling number and specific weight. With the exception of eyespot, it has good disease resistance and is early maturing. With such strong agronomic features, this hard milling variety could have wider appeal.
KWS Jackal: This soft feed variety is a North region recommendation and is rated medium for distilling. It has high yield potential , with good resistance to mildew and yellow rust, though untreated yield is only intermediate . It is earlier maturing than Leeds and Myriad and has stiffish straw. It is relatively good as second wheat.
KWS Lili: This Group 2 milling variety has produced high treated yields  in the North region. It has a high Hagberg falling number, but tends toward low protein content, so will require careful nitrogen management if looking for a premium market. It has stiff straw and good resistance to mildew, though other disease resistances are intermediate and its untreated yield can be very low . It has performed particularly well on lighter soils and is best suited to first wheat situations. It is later maturing than other milling varieties.
KWS Siskin: This Group 2 milling variety has tended to underperform in the North region . It has produced high Hagberg figures and good specific weights. It has good resistance to Septoria tritici, mildew and yellow rust, with intermediate untreated yield , but is susceptible to eyespot. It has performed well as a first and second cereal and on heavier textured soils. It has moderate resistance to lodging but responds well to plant growth regulators.
Leeds: This established soft Group 4 variety is rated medium for distilling. It has performed best in the North region  with consistently good specific weight. It is susceptible to mildew and Septoria tritici and has a very poor untreated yield . It is orange wheat blossom midge resistant. It is rather late maturing. This variety suits lighter textures soils and has yielded well in late sown trials.
LG Motown: A soft feed variety rated medium for distilling. It is relatively early to mature and has produced intermediate yields in both treated  and untreated  trials. It has yielded very well on light soils. This short-strawed variety has only moderate resistance to lodging and will benefit from a good PGR programme. It has good all-round disease resistance with high resistance to mildew, yellow rust and brown rust, it is also resistant to orange wheat blossom midge, but is susceptible to eyespot.
LG Skyscraper: This new soft feed variety is high yielding  and has early maturity. It is rated medium for distilling. Hagberg figures and specific weight are intermediate. It has good resistance to mildew and yellow rust, with good untreated yield . It is relatively tall, but straw strength is about average for this category.
LG Spotlight: A new soft feed variety rated medium for distilling. Hagberg figures and specific weight are excellent for a soft wheat. Yield in the North region yield  is below its UK average. Untreated yield is intermediate . Although it has a high resistance rating for yellow rust, infection is evident in crop trials. It has relatively good resistance to Fusarium ear blight. Maturity is earlier than Leeds.
LG Sundance: This soft Group 4 variety is rated medium for distilling. This variety has produced good yields in treated  and untreated  but tends to give low specific weights. It has very good resistance to Septoria tritici with high resistance to yellow rust, and resistance to OWBM. However, it is highly susceptible to eyespot. It has late maturity and intermediate straw stiffness that benefits from a good PGR programme.
Revelation: A soft endosperm feed variety rated as good for distilling. This variety has above average disease resistance, with high resistance to yellow rust, brown rust and eyespot and above-average resistance to Fusarium head blight. It is not midge resistant. This late maturing variety has slow primordial development and is best suited to very early drilling to improve its modest treated yield .
RGT Gravity: This hard feed variety yields very well in the North region  and is the highest yielding hard Group 4 variety on the SRUC Scottish List. Its Hagberg figures and specific weight are below average. Its resistance to mildew and Septoria tritici are relatively low, with a modest untreated yield , but otherwise, it has no severe agronomic weaknesses. Performance as a second wheat, or when late sown, is very good.
Skyfall: An established bread-making variety, but with very limited use in Scotland. It is favoured by bread-makers because it shows good milling and baking qualities. It is also popular as a feed variety in the north of England. It has relatively good yield  for a Group 1, with good Hagberg figures and specific weight. It has good straw strength but is weak for mildew and yellow rust. It is early ripening and can be grown as a first, or second wheat.
Viscount: A long-established soft feed variety recommended for the North region where it has achieved consistently good yield . It is a benchmark variety for distilling quality. It also meets the UK’s specification for export markets. It has short stiff straw variety and its disease resistance is intermediate, with weak resistance to Septoria tritici and a low untreated yield . It tends to give low Hagberg figures.
Zulu: An established nabim Group 3 soft biscuit variety with a medium rating for distilling and UK’s export potential. It consistently meets the quality requirements for soft milling. It has intermediate Hagberg figures and specific weight. It has high resistance to mildew but is weak for yellow rust, and susceptible to eyespot. It has orange wheat blossom midge resistance. It has produced good yields in the North . It has only moderate resistance to lodging it responds well to plant growth regulators.
The full data sets collected are available on the AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds website.
Cereal varieties of most value to growers in Scotland are highlighted in the SRUC Scottish List tables.
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