As the wheat harvest concludes, many farmers will be considering drilling with a second wheat. This can put pressure on yields, but to address this new varieties are being developed by breeders such as KWS.
Mark Dodds of KWS explains that the new variety KWS Lili has potential to be high performing even in this second sowing slot.
“Where farms have a three year crop rotation it usually includes two successive wheat crops followed by oilseed rape. This means that second wheat is drilled in autumn after the previous crop has been harvested.
“Although there is often a yield penalty over first wheat, the second wheat is still more profitable than some of the other alternatives such as barley and pulses in many circumstances.
“The biggest yield penalty is between the 1st and 2nd sowing slots; subsequent crops are fairly consistent.”
Varieties such as JB Diego, Duxford and Grafton have traditionally performed well in this rotational position. So to introduce a new variety it must have a good inherently high yield in the second wheat position.
“To date, performance in KWS trials indicates that KWS Lili will yield well in both first and second wheat situations, out-performing JB Diego, Duxford and Grafton.”
In addition to loss of yield, eyespot can often a problem in second wheats. Variety selection is key and can be supported by using certain seed dressings, which control take-all and eyespot diseases.
Mark says that to further improve the new variety’s performance as a second wheat disease resistance has been a consideration: “KWS Lili has excellent disease resistance to eyespot alongside its exceptional resistance to Septoria tritici and Mildew.
“In short, KWS Lili’s performance in our own trials suggests it is a good all-rounder and suited to both the first and second wheat positions.”
To ease the adoption of the new variety by the industry KWS has also tested KWS Lili with millers.
Kirsty Richards, Value Chain Manager, KWS UK Ltd explains: “During the official trialing process, for varieties with milling potential, 5kg samples are tested and provisionally graded into NABIM Groups (National Association of British and Irish Millers) by the NABIM Working Group which is a consortium of about 6 millers who represent the UK milling industry.
“In addition to this process, during a variety’s development, KWS contract a number of private milling trials with the key UK millers and bakers to gauge milling and baking performance of the variety over a number of years. Hence, in the year of recommendation of a new variety, both NABIM as a group and individual UK millers have a good understanding of and confidence in the performance of a new variety, which they are able to share with growers.
“Currently KWS Lili is graded by NABIM as a potential Group 2 milling wheat with a provisional neutral UKP rating for export from BCE.”
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