Early maturing soft wheat Bamford is generating strong support from the trade on the back of promising National List trials.
Bamford has a treated yield of almost 106% supported by an untreated yield of 92%.
With a score of 7 for septoria tritici and strong disease resistance to both mildew and yellow rust, it is expected to be included on the 2024 Recommended List.
The high yielding Group 3 winter wheat ticks all the key boxes, says Laura Beaty (right), seed grain director at McCreath Simpson and Prentice (MSP). It has wide marketability with potential to be a key variety in the distilling market, she says
Both yield figures are higher than other varieties in the same class, adds Ms Beaty. “Bamford looks to be one of the most exciting varieties going forward. It looks robust and should attract growers from all regions within the UK.”.
Having seen positive reports on the variety’s alcohol yield and residue viscosity conducted by the Scottish Whisky Research Institute, Ms Beaty says she can already see Bamford’s commercial promise for distilling.
On maturity, Bamford’s +1 rating fits nicely between Skyscraper and many of the other soft wheats that carry a very early +2 score. Its ability to bridge that gap could growers spread their harvests.
“The next stage will be to await the variety’s entry onto the next recommended list before we place it with key growers to further evaluate its performance more closely in real farm situations” says Ms Beaty.
‘One to watch’
Andrew Bourne, seeds manager for independent merchant T Denne & Sons, has been following Bamford’s progress through National List trials. Bred by UK-based Elsoms Seeds, it has the potential to be a key variety, he says.
“I specifically remember the trials manager singling it out as ‘one to watch’ and you have to make an important mental note in those situations, given that it wasn’t their own variety.
“The 7 for Septoria is a stand-out statistic. But when you look at Bamford’s parentage and realise that it’s a Moulton cross, not a Cougar cross, then the genetic sums begin to add up.
“We still have a lot of growers with KWS Zyatt and RAGT Skyfall. Both are good yielders but with high susceptibility to yellow rust. Bamford’s 7.8 score for yellow rust, combined with its very high yield, could make it a popular choice for the south.
On out-and-out yield, Mr Bourne says Bamford challenges the best Group 4 varieties – and could become another Riband or Consort, two highly successful varieties from the Plant Breeding Institute programme in the 1990s.
“Neither were the most popular varieties because they were Group 3s – but they simply had that perfect combination of high yield, excellent disease resistance and consistency,” says Mr Bourne.
As the most competitive Group 3 variety at this stage in its development, Bamford has the potential to become one of the most competitive and marketable soft wheats available with suitability for biscuit-making, export and distilling.
“With that kind of market flexibility, it certainly looks to be one of the most exciting National List candidate varieties this year,”