New KWS varieties deliver high yield and excellent disease resistance

LinkedIn +

KWS sees two new high-yielding quality wheats, a two-row winter barley and a conventional oilseed rape added to the 2019-20 AHDB Recommended List.


Added to the Recommended List as a Group 2 quality wheat is KWS Extase. Rated positive for ukp exports, KWS Extase has a UK treated yield of 101% of controls in official trials. It has shown consistent performance across all regions with yields of 101% of controls in the East region, 102% in the West and, also a 102% of controls in the North.

Will Compson, KWS sales and cereals manager, said its impressive yield score and quality grain characteristics are only part of the variety’s appeal.

“Aside from its solid yield performances, it is its untreated yield and all-round outstanding disease resistance that will support its appeal to growers. At 8.1, KWS Extase heralds a new era in disease resistance being the first variety ever to have a Septoria tritici resistance score greater than 8 which also makes it the best score of any variety on the 2019-20 Recommended List,” he says.

“Its outstanding disease resistance is complemented by a score of 9 for yellow rust, average maturity that is equal to that of JB Diego, and one of the best lodging scores for either untreated or treated straw of any variety on the Recommended List.

“Grain quality is similar to that of other Group 2 varieties with scores of 12.6% for protein, a Hagberg falling Number of 307 seconds and a specific weight of 78.6 kg/hl.

“Given its combination of features seed merchants anticipate strong interest in KWS Extase next autumn and with consistent yield performances across the first and second cereal slot and light and heavy soils it is perhaps easy to see why,” adds Will Compson.


New to the Group 3 category is the biscuit wheat KWS Firefly. Another high-yielding variety it is best-suited to the east and west and has been rated positive for uks exports.

“KWS Firefly joins the list as the highest-yielding Group 3 with a UK yield of 102% of controls. It has good grain quality characteristics supported by good agronomics with excellent straw stiffness and maturity that is close to that of the official measure, JB Diego at +1 day.

“KWS Firefly has good all-round disease resistance, especially to Septoria tritici, which at a score of 7.0 is the best of the Group 3 varieties, and yellow rust, while its orange wheat blossom midge (OWBM) resistance will enhance its appeal to those heavily affected by midges in recent years.

“It has performed strongly across the rotation delivering good yields as both a first and second cereal and across light and heavy soils. With the stiffest straw of any variety on the Recommended List, it is another variety we expect to be popular with growers in the coming years and will do much to continue the revival of the Group 3 sector,” he adds.

KWS Extase and KWS Firefly in numbers

Yield (as a % of controls) Untreated yield (% treated controls) Lodging (1-9) with PGR Ripening days +/- JB Diego Mildew Yellow rust Brown rust Septoria tritici OWBM resistance Fusarium ear blight
UK East West North
KWS Extase 101 101 102 [102] 95 8.1 0 6 9 7 8.1 6
KWS Firefly 102 103 103 [99] 86 8.2 +1 5 9 8 7.0 R 5




Joining the AHDB 2019/20 Recommended List as the highest-yielding 2-row barley is KWS Gimlet, a feed type with a yield of 104% of controls, good resistance to the wet weather diseases Rhynchosporium and Net blotch, and good physical grain attributes.

“A cross between (California x Matros) and KWS Cassia, KWS Gimlet is 1-2% higher yielding than KWS Orwell, our benchmark for variety comparison for the past five years, while retaining the good physical grain attributes of one of its parents, California. It offers solid resistance to Rhynchosporium and Net blotch along with Barley Yellow Mosiac Virus (BaYMV) resistance,” says Will Compson.

“KWS Gimlet is about 15cm taller than other KWS 2-rows and has large ears containing five to six more grain sites which help to deliver its yield performance. Its good disease resistance is supported by its good untreated yield which at 105% of controls is ahead of the average for all winter barleys,” adds Will Compson.

“It is another variety we expect will appeal strongly to growers. It has delivered consistently high yields in three years of trials and across both light and heavy soil types,” adds Will Compson.

KWS Gimlet in numbers

Yield (as a % of controls)  Lodging (1-9) with PGR RipeningDays +/- KWS Orwell Mildew Yellow rust Rhynchosporium Net blotch BaYMV Screenings % (<2.5mm)
UK East West North
KWS Gimlet 104 106 [102] 100 6.8 +1 6 6 5 R 7.7



New to the oilseed rape Recommended List for 2019-20, is Ballad, a conventional variety of average height that is also the joint-highest yielding variety on the RL with a UK gross output of 104% of controls.

Recommended for all regions of the UK, Ballad is stiff-strawed with average time of flowering and maturity. Its disease resistance is good with scores of 6 for light leaf spot and [5] for stem canker. Its oil content of 45.8% is among the highest on the Recommended List.

Julie Goult, KWS oilseeds manager, described Ballad as an appealing variety that will fit all farm situations. Like KWS farm favourite Campus, Ballad has done tremendously well in Verticillium screening in glasshouses with ADAS and field trials at known infected sites, such as the RL site at Cowlinge in Suffolk.

“Ballad is quick to establish in the autumn, but of average speed through stem extension making it the perfect variety for those seeking to establish oilseed rape in good time after winter barley. Its high oil content and joint highest gross output ensure good financial performance while its favourable set of agronomic features make Ballad an easy-to-grow and easy-to-manage variety,” says Julie Goult.

Ballad in numbers

Gross output
(as a % of controls)
Resistance to lodging Shortness of stem Plant height (cm) Light leaf spot Stem canker Oil content (%)
UK East & West North
Ballad 104 104 103 8 7 150 6 [5] 45.8


Share this story:

About Author