RGT Wolverine – simplifying crop management and delivering top yields

Publish on May 6, 2023
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Growing the only winter wheat available in Europe with resistance to barley yellow dwarf virus (BYDV) has turned out to be a good move for farm manager Gavin Bowser, who looks after 1000ha of mainly arable cropping at Croft Marsh, Skegness, Lincolnshire.

The crop of RGT Wolverine simplified early crop management and the variety went on to produce the best average yield across the farm’s 485ha of wheat this harvest.

“We grew around 60 ha of RGT Wolverine after spring beans and it did very well,” says Gavin, who drilled his wheats last autumn over a four-week period from 25 September.

“We had to spray all our other varieties for aphids, but Wolverine has BYDV resistance so we left it alone.

“That saved the cost of a spray, and it made for easier management – we didn’t have to monitor the crop during the autumn.”

Increasing seed rates on the farm’s silty clay loams has helped crops perform better, particularly medium-tillering varieties like RGT Wolverine, he believes.

“It’s surprising what a difference this can make. We’ve upped the rate generally, but particularly on headland where we are applying 20% more. For a year or two I think we’ve been drilling a bit too light, and we’ll be taking more notice of thousand grain weight from now on.”

All wheats received a similar fungicide programme, mainly due to the yellow rust threat on this part of the east coast. “We found a little a bit, but if there’s anywhere a variety will get it, it’ll be down here,” says Gavin.

“We usually apply four sprays through the season. Sometimes can get away without a T0, but mostly we have to give our wheats a full programme. The evenings can get damp, even in the sort of season we had. The tide often brings moist air in, which tends to fuel fungal disease.”

RGT Wolverine rose to the challenge, averaging 11t/ha across the 60ha. “It was a nice clean sample and the combine driver said it was a dream to cut,” says Gavin. “That’s worth something – it looks very nice in the heap, which always helps when it comes to selling it.

“When we started with Wolverine, we said it was the beginning of the next generation of wheats. It’s not the one that’s going to change the world, but it’s the beginning of a pipeline that will. I look forward to trying those, but in the meantime I’ll be growing more Wolverine next year, drilled relatively early after beans.”

Gavin also grew 150ha RGT Gravity, as a second wheat, which also thrashed very well, unlike another feed wheat which took more separating and looked less attractive in the heap.

Yields of RGT Gravity ranged from 8.75 to 11t/ha, producing an overall average of 10t/ha. “Second wheats have stood us in pretty good stead this year, and I’m pleased with the Gravity. I’ll be growing the same amount again – It’s a good reliable wheat.”

RGT Wolverine

• Europe’s first BYDV-resistant wheat
• Gives season-long control of BYDV
• Performs whether disease is present or not
• Offers security and ease of management
• Ideal for early sowing when risk of BYDV infection is highest
• Grow as first or second wheat
• Hard Group 4 variety

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