Successful trials event showcases strong variety portfolio

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A trials day in Suffolk, recently hosted by breeders Saaten Union and Elsoms Seeds, attracted significant numbers of farmers, agronomists and seed trade representatives.

The event, held at Cowlinge near Newmarket, displayed both treated and untreated variety plots covering a wide range of crops including hybrid rye, spring and winter oats, winter barley and winter wheat with special attention from many attendees focusing on Elsoms new winter wheat Bamford, an early maturing, high yielding Group 3 Soft wheat.

Trials site manager Andrew Creasy of Saaten Union UK says “With a treated yield of almost 106% supported by a very high untreated yield of 92%, Bamford has an exciting all-around agronomic profile and has attracted significant seed industry attention in recent months. With a score of 7 for Septoria Tritici and with strong disease resistance to both mildew and yellow rust, it looks very robust and – with a yield averaging 2.5% above LG Skyscraper, I believe it will also challenge the very best of the established Group 4 Soft wheats”.

David Coop, head of Elsoms Agricultural Division, endorses Andrew’s view and adds:” We’re very excited about Bamford, and justifiably.  It has performed superbly in all its trials, including many untreated ones, without missing a beat and I believe it has the ability to change the dynamic of how the wheat market currently works. We’re seeing tremendous seed industry support and it’s the undoubted star of this year’s trials”.

Blackstone and Bollinder

Adding to Elsoms strong line up of winter wheats are Blackstone and Bollinder, both of which have an excellent chance of making the 2024 Recommended List (RL) according to Mr Creasy.

 “Soft wheat Blackstone is currently the highest yielding of this year’s Group 4 RL candidates. With a treated yield of 103.5%, a good specific weight of 78.3kg/hl, and a 9.2 score for resistance to yellow rust it looks well suited to the distilling market after successfully coming through initial testing. Trials also show that Blackstone offers a very long drilling window from late September until mid-February making it very attractive to growers who want drilling flexibility to spread their harvest window.

 “Group 4 feed wheat Bollinder is a very vigorous wheat that races through its early growth stages without getting too tall. With a 6.7 for Septoria, a 9.2 for yellow rust and Orange wheat blossom midge resistance it has responded very well to a significantly reduced fungicide program in trials and looks to be an excellent candidate variety in a competitive Group 4 hard wheat sector” he adds.

On winter barley’s Elsoms are double handed with potential malting variety Buccaneer, new to the RL last year and offering a 4-5% yield lift over competitor varieties Craft and Electrum, and Valvira – a new conventional 6-Row feed variety that achieved a 104% yield above controls in recent NL trials.

Mr Creasy says” Buccaneer is a very consistent high yielder and we’re confident it will gain the Malting Barley Committee’s full malting approval making it the highest yielding winter malting barley.  Valvira combines high yields with excellent disease scores. Importantly, it also has resistance to the aphid-spread barley yellow dwarf virus (BYDV) offering growers the confidence to drill early and reduce their insecticide program. The BYDV resistance trait should make it a popular choice for many growers in the South and West”.

New spring oat candidate Asterion

On spring Oats there was a lot of attention on new candidate variety Asterion. Bred by dedicated Oat breeder Nordstadt, Asterion combines high yields with excellent disease control, including an 8 for mildew resistance.

Mr Creasy says” Asterion represents an uplift in grain quality recording 72.5% for Kernel content and has a high specific weight. We’d like to see farmers growing it for the milling market if the right buy-back contracts are out there, and it has an excellent chance of going onto the new RL in November”.

In the hybrid rye plots, much of the focus was aimed at varieties SU Perspectiv, SU Arvid and SU Baresi. Bred by Saaten Union, whose varieties have dominated the UK Descriptive List in recent years, all three represent a step up in yield from SU Performer which has been the “go to” variety for many wholecrop growers supplying the UK’s Anaerobic Digestion (AD) market.

Elsoms seed specialist Emily Pick says” With excellent disease resistance to brown rust, SU Baresi has performed well in both trials and real farm situations recording a specific weight of 78.2kg/hl and achieving gas yields 6% higher than controls. There will be excellent seed availability for Baresi in 2024.

 “SU Arvid has continued to exhibit the highest fresh weight output amongst all varieties in UK trials. With excellent disease resistance it performs equally well on both light and heavy soils.

 “Although still in its first year as an NL candidate, SU Perspectiv has already been trialled extensively by Saaten Union and has shown a 7-8% yield uplift in cooler, less volatile growing conditions in both the North of England and Scottish trials. With strong disease scores and excellent lodging resistance due to its lower plant height, it looks a strong addition to our hybrid rye portfolio. On the back of high demand for Perspectiv in Europe there will also be good seed availability for it this autumn” she concludes.

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