Quality traits and better agronomics mark out new HGCA Recommended Lists varieties

Newcomers to this year’s HGCA Recommended Lists see a step forward in varieties achieving a quality product for end-users in combination with superior agronomics for growers.

Varieties which provide food-grade quality oil from oilseed rape, grain quality for bread, biscuit and distilling in wheat and potential new brewing, malt distilling and grain distilling barleys are all recommended, alongside new feed varieties.

In total 28 cereals and oilseed varieties have been added to the Recommended Lists for 2015/16, while 27 varieties have been removed.

“The new varieties added to the list include an oilseed variety with both excellent yield and food-grade oil quality. There are also a number of new options for end-users looking for varieties for bread, biscuits, beer, whisky or grain alcohol,” said HGCA’s Dr Simon Oxley, who manages the Recommended Lists.

“New quality cereal varieties will now undergo more commercial testing but along with these potentially marketable qualities, they promise to provide the grower with an excellent package of high yields and agronomic features.”

He added: “Growers looking for feed wheat or moving to spring barley for feed as part of a strategy to manage black-grass will also not be disappointed.”

Winter wheat

KWS Trinity is a new quality Provisional nabim Group 1 winter wheat, which combines bread-making quality with a high yield and good resistance to rusts, mildew, eyespot and fusarium head blight. Early indications from tests are that this variety has all the characteristics to be a quality bread wheat and it will undergo further quality testing as part of nabim’s two-step process in granting full Group 1 status.

Another newly-recommended bread quality wheat is KWS Lili, a nabim Group 2 variety with excellent yields in combination with stiff straw and good resistance to yellow rust, mildew and septoria tritici. It is slightly later maturing than other nabim Group 2 varieties but has a consistent high yield throughout the UK. This variety is also provisionally approved for ukp export.

In the nabim Group 3 biscuit category there are two new varieties, Britannia and RGT Conversion.

Britannia is the highest yielding nabim Group 3 variety on the HGCA Recommended List, suitable for biscuits and with provisional uks export potential. It has good resistance to yellow rust and septoria tritici but attention is required to manage straw strength. RGT Conversion has a yield similar to existing nabim Group 3 varieties, but it also has good distilling characteristics, achieving a high alcohol yield and low viscosity in line with the current best distilling varieties on the List. Agronomically, it has stiff straw and good resistance to disease.

There are two new high-yielding hard Group 4 wheats, Reflection and Costello.

Reflection is the highest yielding variety on the Recommended List, with an agronomic package which includes stiff straw, early maturity, good disease resistance and resistance to orange wheat blossom midge. The variety has performed well in all regions and on light and heavy soils. Costello is a high-yielding, stiff-strawed feed wheat which combines good resistance to mildew and rusts with a high untreated yield. The variety also achieves a high specific weight and Hagberg falling number.


For winter barley growers, there is a choice of two new feed varieties for the UK, a six-row conventional feed variety Daxor and a two-row feed variety, KWS Infinity.

Daxor combines a high yield and stiffer straw than current conventional six-row feed varieties. KWS Infinity raises the two-row feed yield, with no compromise on maturity, straw strength or specific weight. Both varieties also have resistance to barley yellow mosaic virus.

Spring malting barley sees a total of seven new varieties. Six are under test: RGT Planet for brewing; Sienna, Vault, Octavia for brewing and malt distilling; Olympus for malt and grain distilling and Deveron for malt distilling. Three varieties under test will potentially provide the grower with greater flexibility having a dual purpose quality end use for brewing and malt distilling. Scholar is also recommended as a new high yielding spring feed variety.

RGT Planet is stiff strawed and high yielding both when treated and untreated with fungicide. It also has similar maturity to current popular brewing varieties. The highest yields with this variety are seen in the east of the UK.

Sienna is stiff strawed, high yielding and achieves a high specific weight. This characteristic is one which the brewers are now taking notice of along with other quality brewing characteristics. Vault and Octavia are both stiff-strawed high-yielding varieties, with Octavia being an earlier-ripening variety with a higher rating for rhynchosporium than the other new dual-purpose varieties. Ripening is an important feature further north, while rhynchosporium is a major issue in wet regions and seasons.

Olympus achieves a high yield and good disease resistance, with the potential flexibility to meet the needs of both the malt and grain distilling markets. Grain distilling varieties are currently limited to one variety, so this variety will potentially lead to a yield change for growers in this market. Deveron has a high yield, particularly in the north where a malting variety would be grown.

The new feed variety Scholar combines stiff-straw with a high yield and good specific weight, plus good resistance to brackling. The variety has good resistance to mildew, and ramularia but attention will be required to manage brown rust and rhynchosporium in high disease pressure regions. A high-yielding feed spring barley may catch the eye of a grower looking to move to spring barley as part of the three crop rule or to manage black-grass by moving to spring sowings.

Oilseed rape

For oilseed rape, new varieties offer improved yield. The variety V316OL is a first for the HGCA Recommended List for oilseeds, combining high yields in both UK regions and a good agronomic package with high quality food-grade oil, with the potential to attract a premium. The East/West oilseed rape List sees eight additions, with four varieties removed, and the North List sees seven new varieties with six removed. Four of these varieties make both the regional Lists – V316OL, SY Harnas, Campus and the clubroot resistant variety Mentor. In addition to these, Popular, Picto, Arazzo and Fencer were added to the East/West List and DK Explicit, DK Exentiel and PT234 were added to the North List.

V316OL produces a quality food oil which is high in oleic and low in linolenic acid (HOLL). This fatty acid profile meets the food industry’s quality requirements, allowing growers new access to the value food oil market and potentially bringing an additional premium. This oil profile is also suitable for the general commodity crush if the contract specification is not achieved. In addition, V316OL has the highest gross output on the East/West list and good resistance to the major diseases, representing a step forward both in quality, yield and performance throughout the UK.

SY Harnas is another high-yielding variety performing throughout the UK. It tops the gross output in the North, where its high rating of 7 for light leaf spot will be a very attractive feature. Campus has a high gross output throughout the UK, stiff straw and good resistance to light leaf spot. Mentor has resistance to clubroot and may be used as part of an integrated control programme on land where this soil-borne disease is having an impact on yield. Attention to detail is however required to manage the common foliar diseases on Mentor.

Three varieties recommended for the East/West are Popular, which combines a high gross output with good resistance to disease. Picto is another high-yielding variety with stiff straw. Arazzo achieves a high yield, but requires attention to manage phoma stem canker.

Fencer has the additional benefit of having high resistance to phoma stem canker.

Three varieties with recommendation for the North include DK Explicit which has the highest gross output in the north with good resistance to light leaf spot. DK Exentiel combines a high gross output, earlier maturing and high resistance to phoma stem canker rating. Finally PT234 is a high-yielding and early-maturing variety for the North.


Two new spring oat varieties have also been added to the new List. Aspen and Montrose are conventional husked varieties. Aspen has a high treated and untreated yield, good specific weight, kernel content, stiff straw and is early maturing. Montrose is high yielding with good specific weight, kernel content and stiff straw.

Dr Oxley said: “When using the Lists, in addition to looking at yield, growers need to take into account regional factors such as disease risk and markets for specific types of grain. The HGCA Recommended List is a risk management tool, providing independent information to the grower, agronomist and end-user on the variety performance in terms of both agronomy and quality, based on data over several seasons, soil types and sow dates.

“Making greater use of the Recommended List trials for disease monitoring during the current season provides an opportunity to make the industry aware of changes as they occur.”

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