The recent publication of the AHDB Recommended Lists for 2019 is the culmination of another year of extensive variety trialling throughout the UK.
With data analysed and numbers crunched, the new lists highlight the best of the new varieties alongside the established market leaders, whilst also seeing some old favourites removed. It is testament to the ongoing efforts of the plant breeders that better varieties with increased yield and improved agronomics continued to be developed, many of which are already being multiplied by the Seed Industry before being commercially released in 2019.
However, with so much choice, which of these new less familiar varieties should local growers be considering as viable options for the future?
Winter barley sees the highest number of new varieties with 6 additions to the list. Four of these are 2-row feed varieties offering competition to current market leaders KWS Orwell and KWS Tower. Let’s take a look at what these are..
Firstly, from the same stable comes KWS Gimlet, a tall variety with slightly weak straw and later maturity, it has improved mildew resistance but its yield in the North region has been poorer than elsewhere.
More interesting perhaps are two new varieties from Limagrain, LG Mountain and LG Flynn.
LG Mountain is the highest yielding 2-row variety for the North and is early to mature although it is potentially susceptible to lodging and has high screening levels.
LG Flynn is lower yielding and slighter later to mature but is has taller stiffer straw and bold grains with low screenings. These attributes, together with better rhynchosporium resistance, are likely to find favour with livestock farmers especially in the West where its performance is best.
The last of the new 2-row varieties is Valerie, a surprise recommendation in that its yield is below the best, but it is stiff strawed, early, and has good disease resistance together with exceptionally high specific weight. In this latter respect, perhaps at last a replacement for KWS Cassia?
SY Baracooda & SY Kingsbarn
There are also two new hybrid 6-row winter barley varieties added to the list, SY Baracooda and SY Kingsbarn. Although neither is higher yielding in the North than existing varieties, SY Kingsbarn in particular has improved grain quality with high specific weight and low screenings making it a potentially attractive proposition.
There are five new varieties added to the winter wheat list this year of which three in particular look promising for Northern growers. These are:
KWS Firefly, a new group 3 variety, unfortunately seems to under‑perform in the North region so despite its attractive agronomics it may be one best left to growers further South.
Perhaps of more interest is KWS Extase, hard group 2 wheat and the first ever variety to score over “8” for septoria tritici resistance, a major breakthrough for plant breeding. With early maturity and a competitive yield this is definitely one to watch.
After much excitement following a limited release this year, LG Skyscraper goes on the list as the UKs highest yielding variety, the first time this title has been held by a soft wheat for many years.
LG Spotlight, another soft group 4 variety, has also achieved recommendation and has the best grain quality ever seen in a soft wheat. These last two varieties both have distilling potential and look set to command considerable interest from Northern growers in Autumn 2019.
There are less new additions to the Spring lists this year.
One new spring barley, Cosmopolitan, is a potential brewing variety but of little interest to the Scottish distilling market. It has a very high yield but with short straw and relatively poor specific weight it may not fit the bill as a feed variety either.
KWS Talisker & Hexham
Two new spring wheats have been recommended, KWS Talisker and Hexham, both high yielding hard group 4 varieties with improved untreated yields over the current standards.
Finally, there is one new spring oat variety, Elison. It looks agronomically sound but will require end user testing to affirm its milling quality before finding commercial acceptance.
All in all, it is with winter barley and winter wheat where growers are most likely to find new varieties of potential interest next year, with some promising new additions to watch out for in trials and consider for sowing in Autumn 2019.
Want to discuss the options best suited to you? Get in touch and we can make our recommendations based on your requirements.