It’s showtime! RAGT celebrates 100 years of plant breeding excellence at Cereals 2019

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Visitors to the RAGT stand at Cereals 2019 are in for a real treat this year as the company kicks off its 100thbirthday celebrations.

The centrepiece of the RAGT stand will be a “Back to the Future” video extravaganza, a 360º immersive experience within a specially designed dome.

This informative and entertaining presentation will highlight some of the most important milestones in the history of plant breeding, as well as the cutting-edge technological advances that RAGT is developing to tackle the challenges of the future.

It will clearly demonstrate RAGT’s focus on producing robust varieties with improved yield, quality and resistances that take account of environmental and other farming issues, including nitrogen use efficiency and the withdrawal of useful chemistry.

Over the past century RAGT has evolved from a regional co-operative in southern France to Europe’s leading plant breeder, responsible for a range of major varieties such as Skyfall, RGT Gravity, RGT Planet and RGT Windozz.

Simon Howell, managing director of RAGT Seeds UK, says: “Plant breeding has often been taken for granted, but we sense that is changing as farmers see what the latest genetic advances are capable of delivering.

“The Back to the Future experience clearly demonstrates the progress our sector has made over the century since RAGT was created. It also explains what we expect current techniques and other powerful technologies under development to provide in the not-too-distant future.

“Our aim is to produce robust and stable varieties, in conjunction with key end-use customers, that deliver on all fronts, which growers know and trust.

“We are really proud of our story, and we think this is a great way to kick off our centenary celebrations. We are really looking forward to welcoming existing and new customers onto our stand at Cereals.”

Heritage crop plots

Visitors will also be able to view a fascinating collection of variety plots on the RAGT stand.

A key attraction will be the heritage varieties, which include a range of iconic names from Squareheads Master to Solstice, Holdfast to Hobbit, Cappelle Desprez to Claire, bringing to life the developments in plant genetics over the past century.

Recommended and new varieties

RAGT’s key varieties will also be on show as well as some of the most promising candidates that will be filling drills over the next few seasons.

Wheat varieties include RGT Gravity, the highest yielding Group 4 hard winter wheat on the 2019/20 Recommended List, a strong consistent performer suited to all soil types and an excellent first or second wheat.

Group 1 milling wheat RGT Skyfall remains the UK’s most widely grown winter wheat with a combination of high yields, excellent quality, strong agronomics and good functionality.

RGT Saki is a very high yielding soft Group 4 candidate variety that exhibits outstanding disease resistance as well as midge resistance, plus good grain quality.

Staff will also talk about RGT Lantern, a very high-yielding hard Recommended List candidate feed variety with solid disease and OWBM resistance. It is a very consistent performer as a first and second wheat.

Spring barley RGT Planet is the joint highest yielding spring barley on the Recommended List that is fully approved for brewing use. It is the leading spring barley in the UK and will be the most widely grown cereal variety in the world this year.

RGT Asteroid is the only spring barley variety on the Recommended List that is provisionally approved for all three end markets – brewing, grain distilling and malt distilling.

Winter oat RGT Southwark is the highest yielding winter oat on the 2019/20 Recommended List, at 105%. It combines high yield and quality and is early to mature.

New OSR risk reduction scheme

Staff will also be available to talk through RAGT’s new oilseed rape selling scheme designed to take some of the risk out of growing the crop.

Under the arrangement, growers will only have to pay royalties on the area of oilseed rape that establishes. Three new OSR varieties, RGT Azurite, RGT Quizz and RGT Nizza CL®, are eligible for the scheme this coming season.

“Growers simply declare the area of oilseed rape established by 1 November, on which they will pay royalty,” says Tom Dummett, RAGT’s cereal and OSR product manager. “Failed areas will be exempt, resulting in welcome savings that farmers can put towards re-establishing a replacement crop.”

* RAGT Seeds is exhibiting on stand 529 at the Cereals event, which takes place on 12-13 June at Boothby Graffoe, Lincolnshire.


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