Kent growers evaluate two new Group 2 winter wheats
Two new varieties of Group 2 milling winter wheat are being grown on a Kent farm, Mayflower and Palladium looking well ahead of harvest, and Mayfield so far a little cheaper to grow.
Edward Batchelor and his sons, Andrew and Ryan, focus on milling wheats and grow both varieties under seed contracts. They will assess yield and grain quality at harvest to see if they will plant them commercially next season.
Mayflower is a slightly taller variety than Palladium and appears to have more green leaves. Both appeared disease-free just before harvest in their area of north-east Kent, which can see stripe and brown rust quickly hit wheat crops.
See also: Tips on Choosing Winter Wheat Varieties to Reduce Fungicide Expenses
“Both are looking good at the moment and both seem to be good strains so we will probably grow them again next season. We have seen Mayflower in trials and looking at the untreated fungicide plots you would have thought it had been treated with fungicide,” says Andrew.
J Batchelor & Partners, Ford Manor Farm, Hoath, Canterbury
- Operates 600 ha of largely arable land
- Harvests Winter wheat, winter barley, winter beans and rapeseed
He was impressed with the disease resistance characteristics of the variety in trials last season and, with many Group 1 milling wheat varieties under disease pressure – Skyfall and Zyatt are susceptible to stripe rust and Crusoe to brown rust – the farm decided to grow a seed crop of Mayflower for the Frontier agronomy and grain trading group.
The family farm has 40ha of Mayflower in the ground on their 600ha of largely arable land at Ford Manor Farm, northeast of Canterbury.
They grow 300 ha of winter wheat – mainly Skyfall, Illustrious, Extase and Firefly – as well as winter barley, winter beans and rapeseed.
The farm has grown Group 2 wheats such as Siskin and Cordiale in the past, with Extase currently grown. The family chose a range of wheat varieties from Groups 1, 2 and 3 to spread the risk, Edward explains.
Mayflower and Palladium were new additions to the current AHDB Recommended List last December, joining Extase and Siskin as Group 2.
Of the 2 groups, Extase has become the go-to variety for its high yield and good resistance to septoria and rust, but Edward says the untreated fungicide plots of Mayflower looked even cleaner than Extase, so they were eager to try the variety.
Mayflower’s 40 ha were drilled the second week of October, along with Palladium’s 35 ha, and both grew at similar rates. However, the Mayflower developed into a taller, leafier wheat with a dense green canopy, perhaps 50-75mm taller than the Palladium.
As seed crops, nitrogen fertilizer was applied at a relatively modest rate of 220 kg/ha, compared to commercial crops Skyfall and Illustrious at 260-270 kg/ha and Extase at 280-300 kg/ha, aiming to reach 13% protein.
Mayflower and Palladium will be tested post-harvest to check grain protein levels.
Traditionally, millers look for 11.3-11.5% protein content for Group 2 wheats, but some have paid the full milling premium for varieties such as Ecstasy that meet the 13% criteria.
In early spring, at the T0 fungicide stage, Palladium had an azole mix of tebuconazole and prochloraz plus a plant growth regulator, while Mayflower – like Extase – just had a plant growth regulator due to its resistance ratings to slightly better diseases, so there was a little saving .
The T1 treatment was common to both varieties, consisting of SDHI benzovindiflupyr plus azoles prothioconazole and tebuconazole.
For T2, the planned Univoq had to be quickly canceled after reports of fungicide damage to the sprayer, and a cheaper prothioconazole-tebuconazole-folpet blend was used instead due to dry conditions. Both had a T3 azole ear spray of prothioconazole and tebuconazole, as did Ecstasy.
Mayflower has the second highest resistance to septoria on the AHDB recommended list, with a one-year resistance score of 8.2, after Theodore’s 9 and ahead of Palladium on 7.2 and Extase on 7.3.
This is on a 1-9 AHDB scale where 9 shows good resistance and 1 is very sensitive.
Mayflower and Palladium both score 9 for stripe rust resistance, while Mayflower has a 6 for brown rust, slightly above Palladium’s 5.
Paul Taylor, head of agriculture at Elsoms Seed Group, which bred Mayflower, says the variety seems to take up more nitrogen fertilizer and capture it early in the season, then use the nitrogen more efficiently.
When applied at 85 kg/ha at the start of the season, it performs well and quickly goes through its growth phase, he adds.
“The variety appears to have higher nitrogen efficiency compared to other wheat varieties we have seen in our trials,” he says.
Mr. Taylor adds that the variety performed particularly well in bread-making trials and that the breeder hopes to upgrade the variety to a Group 1 milling wheat.
Chris Piggott, Frontier’s regional seed manager for southern and central England, says both varieties have good agronomic appearance and good resistance to septoria and stripe rust.
As the market share of specialty Group 1 winter wheat varieties falls below 20%, Group 2 varieties may see increased interest from millers.
Mr Piggott adds that Mayflower has “fantastic” resistance to disease, and it is good to see the diversity of its parentage compared to many other wheat varieties on the AHDB’s recommended list. The strain also has a particularly good test weight, similar to Ecstasy, at 78.5 kg/hl.
He concludes that between the two, Mayflower may have the edge on test weight, while Palladium leads on straw stiffness, but both look like good varieties overall.
Palladium breeder KWS says there will be enough seed available to take 3% of the seed market this fall, when there will likely be less Mayflower seed available for sowing.
AHDB Recommended List Group 2 Winter Wheats
|Yield treated with fungicide (%)||101||100||98||97|
|Untreated yield (%)||93||90||83||90|
|Protein (% grind specification)||12.7||(13.1)||12.7||(12.9)|
|Straw strength (without plant growth regulator)||seven||seven||6||6|
|Specific weight (kg/hl)||78.5||76.9||76.7||78.5|
|Septoria (one year)||7.3||7.2||6.5||8.2|