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Pick Of The Crop: Winter Cereals 2018

Winter Cereals 2018

Pick of the crop: Winter cereals 2018

With only weeks since this year’s late spring cereal drillings, breeders and seed houses have already turned their attention to winter cereals.

Areas entered for autumn seeds overall look very similar to previous years. There has been a small decrease in seed areas of Group 1 wheats, including Skyfall, with Zyatt being the only variety increasing its seed potential. Supply and demand could be finely balanced, as milling premiums have improved. Group 4 feed wheats will see the greatest interest, with an increase in acreage and many new exciting varieties to choose from.

There has been a reduction in conventional two row barley, especially areas entered for KWS Glacier, KWS Infinity and KWS Tower. However, hybrid barley breeders feel there are sufficient hybrid options to meet demand if growers are willing to switch, with Bazooka leading the way.

Predicted decreases in barley have been offset by increases for both winter wheat and winter oats. Winter oats have seen a dramatic increase in area and as in previous years, Mascani will be the most readily available, taking 60% of the market share.

There has been a small 6% decrease in area for bean seed production, but this is likely to be enough to meet demand, with sales potentially faltering due to changes in greening rules. The number one variety taking a large market share will be Tundra.

This year will see a significant reduction in area of triticale, which is being put down to increasing difficulties in finding growers and certifying triticale seed being that much harder than most other seeds.

Winter wheat varieties to look out for...

With over 36 varieties of wheat on this year’s Recommended List, choosing the right variety is not a simple affair. However, for those mixed farm Members that benefit from home grown grain and straw, with also the option of selling grain to Mole Valley Farmers feed mills, we have identified the following Group 4 feed wheat varieties worth considering. These have been chosen for their yield, straw length and importantly, grain quality and robust disease resistance profiles.

Soft Group 4 wheats


A high yielding Soft Group 4 milling feed wheat, with premium earning potential. It has UKs, so is suited for export markets. Ideal for feed, it has the best grain quality of any Soft 4 wheats; tall straw and is early to mature. Whilst offering a respectable treated yield, its untreated yield and robust disease package makes it stand out.

Key attributes:

  • Joint highest untreated yield of any Soft Group 4’s
  • Highest protein potential of any Soft Group 4 wheats; only Costello and Grafton are above it when including the Hard Group 4’s
  • High specific weight (often an assurance even in a tough year, it is likely to meet feed specification)
  • High protein/specific weight, ideal for feed compounders and livestock farmers who require better grain quality
  • Robust disease resistance profile – scoring 6.3 for septoria tritici and 8 for yellow rust
  • Consistent and flexible – suitable for first or second wheat; does well on light and heavy soils.

Hard Group 4 wheats


A new variety on the Recommended List. Gleam is a very high yielding, hard milling feed variety. Exceptional grain potential for high protein/ specific weights; an excellent disease resistance profile. Useful for growers looking to maximise feed yield, whilst reducing risk.

Key attributes:

  • Very high yielding Hard Group 4 feed wheat
  • Performs well across all regions; particularly as a second wheat
  • Flexible drilling window
  • Excellent disease resistance
  • Very high untreated yields
  • Tall straw with excellent resistance to lodging
  • High tillering capacity
  • Orange Wheat Blossom Midge (OWBM) resistant.


A very high yielding, hard milling feed variety. Outstanding disease resistance; 6.9 for septoria tritici, 8 for yellow rust. Good grain quality, with high proteins/specific weights. Graham is early maturing and offers a flexible drilling window. Performs better as a first wheat and on heavy land and is suitable for early drilling. Performs well in the west; a consistent performer in Syngenta trials.


A high yielding variety, with good straw characteristics. An improved JB Diego type, offering consistency in varying seasons. Its real strength is its exceptional grain quality; very high specific weight; good protein; extremely high Hagberg; solid disease resistance; 6.4 for septoria tritici and 9 for yellow rust. An excellent variety for lowering risk - an ideal partner on farm.

Mole Valley Farmers can also supply a range of leading winter wheat, barley, oat and bean varieties. For information on varieties, prices and availability, please call the Seed Line on 01769 576232. #MVFHotTopics

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 newsletter 651

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