Several promising new wheat varieties from leading plant breeder RAGT that could soon be filling drills around the country were highlighted at the company’s recent Variety Focus Day. RAGT Seeds wheat breeder Célia Bequain gave growers and the seed trade an early introduction to the new material, which could build on the success of varieties such as RGT Skyfall and RGT Gravity, forecast to be the UK’s most popular wheat varieties this coming autumn. The new varieties exhibited the consistency for which RAGT is becoming increasingly well-known – high yield potential backed by solid disease resistance, good grain quality and an ability to excel in a range of conditions. This will help ensure RAGT’s pipeline continues to produce farmer-friendly varieties with longevity, that will perform reliably across different sites and seasons. Picks of the bunch included three varieties in National List 1 trials. The first, a potential Group 1 bread-maker with Gallant in its parentage, produces Skyfall-type yields of quality grain, rated excellent/good by millers in early tests. “It maintained an excellent Hagberg in the 2017 harvest when many other varieties greatly declined,” said Célia. “It has a very good disease resistance profile including a 9 for rusts and 6.4 for Septoria tritici.” The second, a Cougar/Kielder cross, has great potential as a Group 3 wheat. Strong rust resistance scores and a Septoria rating just shy of 6 helps push yields to an impressive 106% of controls. “We dispatched samples to several millers over two very different seasons and they have all confirmed good dough characteristics,” said Célia. The final NL1 pick is a hard feed wheat with RGT Gravity-plus yields, which has shown sector-leading consistency across the UK and Europe. It has good potential as a later-drilled barnfiller. Real promise A brace of NL2 varieties also show real promise. Both have exceptional stability, excelling in the UK and across north-west Europe. The first, a Cougar/Santiago cross, exhibits exceptional disease resistance combined with very high treated and untreated yields, including a 7 for Septoria tritici. This soft Group 4 wheat also has midge resistance. “The AHDB is becoming more and more focused on the overall package, not just yield, trying to provide growers with what they want, much as we are. This variety seems to fulfil the brief.” Snapping at its heels is a high-tillering Kielder/Relay cross with sound disease and midge resistance. “It is relatively early to harvest and has potential as an early driller,” says Célia.