New biscuit wheat offers best on farm yield security

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LG Astronomer is an exciting new biscuit wheat that offers one of the most complete agronomic packages of any winter wheat available on the AHDB Recommended List for 2021/22.

Achieving high yields and gaining a premium is always an attractive proposition for growers as they look to maximise their most profitable crop – and now with the added bonus of on-farm security, LG Astronomer makes for a really attractive package for the coming season, says Ron Granger from plant breeder Limagrain UK.

LG Astronomer offers consistency in biscuit wheat yields, with a UK wide yield of 101.1% and a very impressive untreated yield of 86%; significantly better than the untreated yields of KWS Firefly (80%) and KWS Barrel (71%).

“Its best performance is in the east (102%) and its characteristics will suit growers in both the west and the north,” he adds.

LG Astronomer’s pedigree of ‘(Cougar x Leeds) x Britannia’, has resulted in a variety that is tall and stiff strawed with OWBM resistance, and a similar maturity of ‘+1’, to KWS Firefly.

“Its disease resistance profile is pretty impressive, particularly for the rusts – with ratings of 9 for both brown and yellow rust, and this is supported by a very good septoria tritici rating of 7.4, raising the bar above the present commercial biscuit varieties, Elicit (5.1) and KWS Firefly (6.8).”

“The variety shows a flexibility in rotational positioning, that makes it really useful on farm,” says Mr Granger. “It is equally as good as a second wheat or a first wheat, and in Limagrain trials, performs very well in both medium and heavy soil types – which is backed up by the AHDB RL data sets.”

“Although limited data for now, we have found the variety to perform well in an earlier drilling slot – performing much better than many other biscuits at this time due to its superb agronomic package.” 

”LG Astronomer can also be sown through to mid-February, which is a really useful characteristic, considering the late drilling seasons we currently seem to be faced with.”

Grain quality is very important for a biscuit wheat, and LG Astronomer stands out with its excellent quality attributes – starting with a specific weight of 77.8 kg/hl, protein content of 11.9% and HFN of 238.

“This is one of the best specific weights on the RL, irrespective of the UK Wheat Millers (nabim) Grouping.”

For this coming season, growers have the exciting option of growing a wheat variety that will deliver whatever the season throws at it, cope with a range of rotational positions, and also offer the added bonus of a biscuit or distilling premium, by choosing LG Astronomer, concludes Mr Granger.

LG Astronomer has the Highest Variety Sustainability Rating (VSR), of all of the wheats on the Agrii Advisory List 2021,” says Agrii’s head of agronomy, Colin Lloyd.

Colin Lloyd

“These ratings complement the AHDB Recommended List, but with extra analyses and statistically-robust data from our extensive national and regional variety testing programme,” he explains.

“There are 13 key characters that are scored including: resistance to the three main foliar diseases, lodging (both treated and untreated), orange wheat blossom midge, yield resilience and consistency, grassweed competitiveness, specific weight and, latest optimum sowing date.”

“These characters are then weighted according to their importance in offering performance reliability, management flexibility and the potential for reducing pesticide use and overall cost/tonne to grow.”

“So, the higher the rating the more sustainable and secure the variety.”

“As a result of its superb agronomics, disease resistance profile and excellent specific weight, LG Astronomer deserves to hold this top position, and growers should have every confidence in the variety to deliver this coming season.”

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About Author

Editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer as well as responsibility for the Agronomist and Arable Farmer and Farm Business websites. After 17 years milking cows on the family farm John started writing about agriculture in 1998 and has since written for a variety of publications and has developed a wide circle of contacts within the industry. When not working John is an avid follower of Stoke City.