We haven’t heard very much about Orange Wheat Blossom Midge (OWBM) in recent years, is it a threat that has gone away?
The threat certainly hasn’t gone away. We feel that OWBM is a potential ticking time-bomb. The widespread use of resistant varieties in the past has perhaps reduced the threat but with less than half of the AHDB Recommended wheat varieties now having genetic resistance, some growers may be taking an unnecessary risk.
So as a breeder, do you still think Orange Wheat Blossom Midge (OWBM) resistance is an important trait for UK growers to have in their wheat varieties?
Yes we do. Limagrain UK have 7 winter wheats on the AHDB Candidate List this year and all of them have OWBM resistance. In future, we aim to have the resistance in all of our varieties.
Why should growers choose OWBM resistant varieties?
It is a complete solution to the problem and comes at no cost to the grower. The alternative is to monitor and spray if necessary. This inevitably comes at a cost and may not be 100% effective. I think most proactive agronomists would recommend the use of resistant varieties, wherever possible.