Demo Field tour part 4 – New milling wheat & promising wheat pipeline

Publish on July 1, 2024
Reading time : < 1 min
We joined managing director Lee Bennett on one of his many tours, which illustrated the broad range of research on show and, of course, some of the most promising varieties emerging from RAGT’s advanced breeding programmes. Here are some of the highlights.

RAGT fast-tracks new milling wheat seed production

RGT Goldfinch, the UK’s first high quality wheat with breadmaking potential that features resistance to barley yellow dwarf virus and orange wheat blossom midge, will be available for farmers to sow this autumn.

The variety, which also has exceptional foliar disease resistance and strong agronomics, has grabbed the attention of growers, merchants and millers at trials and events across the country, said Lee.

“RGT Goldfinch gives growers the opportunity to produce insecticide-free wheat, which is particularly attractive for crops intended for the human food chain.

“Importantly, the variety also has outstanding foliar disease resistance scores, including 9s for yellow and brown rust, 8 for mildew and 7 for Septoria tritici.”

Given the level of interest, RAGT has accelerated seed production, so there will be C2 seed available for drilling this autumn.

“Crucially, there are plenty of buybacks from millers who have really got on board with the variety,” he added. “Its quality has been very well received and they like the environmental credentials of controlling two major pests of wheat without the need for insecticides.

“That also gives growers a great opportunity to claim £45/ha for growing an insecticide-free crop under the IPM standard of the Sustainable Farming Incentive, which goes straight onto the bottom line.”

RGT Goldfinch offers complete protection when BYDV strikes, he explained. “In RAGT trials last season where plots were inoculated with BYDV-carrying aphids and received no insecticide treatment, RGT Goldfinch scored 106% against Skyfall’s 95% and Extase’s 92%.”

RGT Goldfinch suits well-bodied land and can be sown from early September to the end of November.

A winter wheat pipeline full of promise

Several new wheats have stood out in the variety demonstration plots this season, reflecting the company’s emphasis on breeding varieties with strong disease resistance scores and improved agronomic traits increasingly demanded by UK growers.

Those closest to market include two potential RL Candidate soft wheats. “RW42286 has a massive alcohol output, outyielding Skyscraper by 2%, which is significant,” Lee pointed out. “Skyscraper is the biggest variety in Scotland, and this variety has distilling written all over it.

“The other soft wheat, RW42295, has a very similar alcohol yield, so could also suit the Scottish market, but it has also attracted much interest from Spanish millers who want something different from the standard UKS export specification. We are advancing seed multiplication this autumn so we can get designated exports going as quickly as possible.”

RW42265
RW42265

A Genserus (BYDV resistant ) hard feed variety, RW 42265, also a potential RL Candidate, looks set to challenge RGT Grouse, RAGT’s current commercial BYDV-resistant wheat, in the next year or two. It offers a step up in yield, better Septoria tritici resistance and very good yellow rust resistance.

A clutch of very high yielding conventional hard feed wheats with excellent disease resistance profiles and very strong agronomics are a year behind. “We’ve not had a mainstream good Group 4 hard for a long time, so to have several coming along at once is really exciting,” Lee said.

“They are already creating a lot of interest; they look really strong compared with competitor material in what has been a very tough year for disease. Provided they carry on doing in official trials what they have done in ours, they have a very bright future.”

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