Discover and discuss BYDV-resistant wheat at CropTec
It is a very pertinent topic given the serious levels of barley yellow dwarf virus in wheat witnessed by many growers across the country last season and the fact that even higher numbers of aphid vectors have been found in wheat crops this autumn.
RAGT UK managing director Lee Bennett says: “Barley yellow dwarf virus can cause serious yield losses in wheat, typically around 8% on untreated crops and up to 60% in serious cases.
“The loss of neonicotinoid seed treatments means growers now have to rely on aphicides to prevent infection, which, as we saw last autumn, may have to be sprayed three or four times to control incoming aphids.
“This takes time and money and is bad for the environment – but we now have the opportunity to remove the threat of BYDV altogether, thanks to the introduction of our Genserus wheats.”
Genserus (Genetic Security Virus) varieties offer season-long protection against barley yellow dwarf virus thanks to the inclusion of a resistance gene, Bdv2, derived from a wild grass.
Their potential has been clearly demonstrated in a number of trials in the 2022/23 season, confirming several years of UK research and two decades of commercial production in Australia.
In RAGT trials at Ickleton, Cambridgeshire, seven Genserus varieties significantly outyielded a range of popular and pipeline conventional varieties in aphid-inoculated trials. No insecticide treatments were used.
RGT Grouse, RAGT’s current commercial Genserus variety, ended up 8% higher than Champion and yielded 15% more than Skyscraper.
A trial in County Cork by Goldcrop using natural BYDV infection saw Genserus varieties take the top three places, with RGT Grouse equal top at 106% of controls.
Genserus varieties have also performed well in AHDB RL trials where BYDV was confirmed or likely to have occurred. So even where conventional varieties are supported by insecticide, Genserus varieties are still holding their own in what are likely to be high-pressure situations, says Lee.
“Wheats resistant to BYDV will become an integral part of UK wheat production in the near future,” he adds.
“We look forward to discussing the technology with visitors at CropTec who want to eliminate the risk of this potentially highly damaging disease in their crops.”
Find out more by visiting RAGT in Hall 2 stand 530 at CropTec, which takes place on 29 and 30 November 2023.
RGT Grouse is a Group 4 hard variety with a Santiago genetic background, featuring high yield potential and good disease resistance.
It has the added benefit of resistance to orange wheat blossom midge.
“This is the first variety with this double resistance, enabling many growers to produce insecticide-free wheat, which has obvious attractions within all markets,” says Lee.
RGT Grouse a slower to develop so is highly suited to earlier sowings when the risk of BYDV is at its highest.
“It is a good-looking wheat with a prostrate autumn and winter growth and high tillering capacity and retention,” says Lee. “Ear fertility is good and it has an outstanding bright finish.”
RW42109 (RGT Goldfinch)
This variety is going through the registration process and is up for inclusion as an RL candidate this autumn.
It is derived from a well-known Group1 variety and is going through all provisional assessments for milling and baking quality. “So far it looks very encouraging in official tests and independent work,” says Lee. “It is showing a lot of promise as a future breadmaking variety.”
Like RGT Grouse, RGT Goldfinch has resistance to both BYDV and OWBM, so it could be the first insecticide-free wheat specifically aimed at the human consumption market.
It has an attractive agronomic package, says Lee. “It has the best disease resistance of all Group 1s on the Recommended List. It has similar slower autumn growth to RGT Grouse and good stiff straw.
“This is a variety that is going to look after itself – it is not hungry for fungicide, not hungry for PGR, and has no issues with either of the two major pests of winter wheat.”