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Candidates to consider

grew Panorama will recognise the variety’s good grain quality, suggests Mr Granger. “LG Cassidy has a good specific weight (78) and while its Hagberg is lower (232), like Crusoe’s in Group 1, we don’t see that as a problem,” he says. “Protein (11.5 per cent) is slightly up on other Group 2s and hitting specification with this variety shouldn’t be too difficult,” he added. Mr Granger reckons Cassidy is similar to past favourite soft Group 4 Einstein in terms of its lower tillering, erect habit and quick plant development in the spring, while the variety has inherited Crusoe’s distinct vivid green plant colour. “Fitting the medium to late drilling window, Cassidy is a low vernalisation type which means drilling can be delayed as late as February, acting as a useful tool for drilling after roots or for allowing effective black-grass control where required. “On paper it looks like it could also be a very good second wheat, as was its parent Panorama, but more trials are needed to establish this.”

capacity storage, drying and seed cleaning/separating equipment to complement the operation. Virtually all cereal crops on the 1,000ha (2,500-acre) farm are grown for seed, although a small area of wheat is also grown for milling. Break crops include linseed and vining peas (for seed), potatoes for long-term storage and sugar beet; the farm is in close proximity to British Sugar’s Cantley factory. “We’re fortunate with the soil we have across the farm; it enables us to grow a range of break crops in the rotation and so a higher grade of seed can be produced for breeders,” explains Mr Crane. “We’re growing the early multiplication seed which breeders then supply to growers, and so it’s better security for me than growing crops for the open market,” he adds. According to Mr Crane, attention to detail is key to being a successful seed grower with an emphasis on seed separation and cleanliness, as well as a high input/output agronomic approach. “Cleanliness is vital, and that means cleaning of grain stores and combines, for example, has to be meticulous. If seed gets contaminated here on the farm, by the time it gets to C2 it can be a real mess,” he points out. “There’s a lot of extra work that goes into it,” he continues. “When we clean a combine down prior to harvesting a different variety, we typically remove another 1 million seeds over and above that which a conventional grower or contractor might. But I see it as all part of the service that I provide for the breeders. “When commodity prices are good and the industry is really buoyant, you sometimes wonder whether all the extra work involved in being a seed grower is worth it, but when things are tough – as they are now – then we really see the benefit.”

Specialist seed grower


In what he describes as a long-term and deliberate strategy; Nicholas Crane of north east Norfolk farming business, Hugh Crane Ltd, has been a specialist producer of high-grade seed for plant breeding companies in the UK since 1978. With a wide variety of cropping in the rotation, all grown on Grade 1 land, over the years the company has also invested in high

Mr Crane first grew Limagrain’s Group 1 variety Crusoe for seed (and milling) in 2010 for harvest 2011, and this season he also has 37ha (91 acres) of the company’s Candidate Group 2 variety LG Cassidy in the ground for the first time, following sugar beet. The variety was drilled on two fields on the 10th and 11th October last autumn at a 161kg/ha seed rate.

With as many as 19 Candidate winter wheat varieties vying for places on the Recommended List this autumn, Dominic Kilburn looks at three on offer from plant breeder Limagrain, and also catches up with two specialist seed growers in Norfolk.

of the hard Group 4 wheats, LG Motown offers good grain quality attributes with initial tests suggesting suitability for the uks export market and distilling, therefore offering opportunities over standard feed wheats, and premium potential,” Mr Granger highlights. “Its specific weight (75.5) and Hagberg (208) are fine, and the variety has shown good consistency of yield over both regional and seasonal comparisons,” he adds.

LG Cassidy is similar to past favourite soft Group 4 Einstein in terms of its lower tillering.

Top septoria rating Limagrain arable technical manager, Ron Granger.

Of the 19 winter wheat varieties currently on the AHDB Candidate list, five come from plant breeder Limagrain – three of which are Group 4 feed wheats, one Group 3 and one Group 2. However, out of the five, two soft Group 4s – LG Motown and LG Sundance – and the Group 2 offering LG Cassidy, are looking the stronger contenders to become fully commercial varieties. LG Motown is a soft Group 4 wheat that yields 104 per cent in fungicide treated trials, with a similar height as KWS Santiago and similar agronomics to stable-mate Revelation, but with an earlier maturity rating, earlier than JB Diego. “Growers are saying that a lot of varieties on the List are too late to mature to be of use in the north and Scotland, and that they are seeking varieties that are earlier to mature,” says Limagrain arable technical manager, Ron Granger. “LG Motown comes with a high untreated yield and a similar disease resistance package to Revelation, including a 9 for yellow rust, 8 for brown rust and mildew, and 6 for septoria, however it has orange wheat blossom midge (OWBM) resistance and early maturity. In the past few years, high yielding varieties have been associated with a later maturity, but that’s not the case now as can be seen with recent additions to the AHDB Recommended List. “Competing on yield with most

Yielding one per cent above LG Motown, LG Sundance (105) is another soft Group 4 Candidate variety with very good all-round disease resistance including an equal top rating of 7 for septoria. Initial official testing suggests that the variety meets the specification for both the distilling and uks export markets, points out Mr Granger. “It gets its excellent disease resistance from having Cassius, Viscount and Hereford in its complex parentage – the 7 for septoria tritici being vital during seasons of high disease pressure and provides flexibility in timeliness of spraying. “Septoria is still the biggest yield robber despite all the focus recently being on yellow rust and LG Sundance will play a very important role in the west of the country, and where pressure from the disease is traditionally high,” he says. A slightly taller variety, the same height as JB Diego, Sundance offers a higher tillering variety with a more prostrate growth, traits associated with the earlier drilling slot. Like LG Motown, LG Sundance also comes with midge resistance, a valuable trait now that growers are under pressure with the loss of effective chemistry.

Group 2 promise The result of a cross between Crusoe and Panorama, LG Cassidy is one of two Candidate varieties hoping to join the quality wheat sectors. LG Cassidy with a high yield of 104 per cent is comparable with AHDB RL varieties KWS Siskin and Lili as a Group 2 bread-maker. Those that

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