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Vigour and disease resistance are becoming must-have traits in both wheat and barley with two stand-out varieties on the new 2021/22 Recommended List attracting... Big demand for ‘high resilience’ wheat and barley

Vigour and disease resistance are becoming must-have traits in both wheat and barley with two stand-out varieties on the new 2021/22 Recommended List attracting considerable grower interest.

KWS Cranium sets important new standards in the Group 4 hard wheat sector including the best yield and yellow rust combination of all listed wheat varieties. And KWS Tardis is the highest yielding two-row winter barley on the new list.

“With the best combination of yield, Yellow Rust resistance and OWBM resistance on the 2021/22 RL, KWS Cranium ticks all the boxes for a high performance modern wheat,” says Kirsty Richards of KWS (pictured).

“It’s got the highest yield of all the RL late drilling varieties and the best combination of yield and straw stiffness on the list plus it has Orange Wheat Blossom Midge resistance too.

“KWS Tardis also rewrites the rules with a performance rivalling many 6-row hybrid varieties achieving a yield of 106% of controls on the new 2021/22 RL – just 1% point behind the highest yielding 6-row hybrid. It’s also got an excellent agronomic package.”

Domestic markets

Frontier seed manager Chris Piggott, says challenges around disease in the future and large domestic markets for feed wheat mean KWS Cranium will appeal to growers looking to reduce production risks without sacrificing yield potential.

“KWS Cranium is yielding within 1% of the highest yielding variety on the Recommended List and is part of a select few varieties that combine a Septoria score of 6 and above and a yellow rust score of 8 and above.

“These two particular diseases are the most challenging in terms of yield penalty so to have high genetic resistance is an advantage. Late sown performance is particularly strong.”

Being a hard wheat, KWS Cranium offers a lower sprouting risk for a variety that is slightly later to maturity compared to the alternative soft wheats. To top everything off it also has good fusarium resistance and OWBM resistance.

Mr Piggott says: “High yielding feed wheat has been a significant portion of the market for some time – with a much reduced potential for not achieving specification – and many destinations local to a lot of growers, there is a great deal of marketing flexibility.

“I think KWS Cranium is going to appeal to a broad range of growers from both in-field performance and marketing perspectives.”

On the barley front, Openfield arable technical manager Duncan Durno says KWS Tardis will have broad appeal for growers across the country.

“Obviously its headline figure is the yield but there’s a lot more to KWS Tardis than just that. It’s got a really strong set of features that will make it appeal to all barley growers wherever they are.

“In the east, that yield figure and high specific weight are really going to make it attractive to any feed barley grower, but the variety’s Rhynchosporium score of 7 helps make it a safe bet wherever you are.

“The good thing about KWS Tardis is that its straw length is not at the expense of standing power as it has a strong lodging resistance score too. Its net blotch resistance is pretty solid as well. The other key feature of the variety is the potential flexibility it will add to rotations.

“With the good oilseed rape crops we generally have in the ground at the moment, this is a crop that could now have a better future in the UK than many were predicting.

“What is increasingly clear, however, is that oilseed rape success depends on having flexibility around sowing date so crops are drilled in the best conditions they can be.”