The breeder is particularly excited about its soft feed variety LG Skyscraper which is the highest yielding wheat candidate at 109% and will potentially be the overall highest yielding wheat variety, should it gain full recommendation to the 2019-20 List.
LG Skyscraper’s very high yield at 109% over control shows a significant 4% increase over the control feed variety KWS Santiago in treated trials and demonstrates that the variety is capable of competing with many of the high yielding feed varieties that have been added to the AHDB RL in the last couple of seasons, says Ed Flatman, Limagrain UK’s senior wheat breeder.
“LG Skyscraper offers a very high yielding soft wheat with good agronomic characters that compete with the high yielding hard feed wheat sector which has been the dominant sector for the last 10 years.”
“What is also exciting and really valuable on-farm, is that this yield potential has been consistent across both seasons and regions,” he says.
LG Skyscraper has a pedigree of (Cassius x NAWW29) x KWS Santiago, and it is this balance of genetics that brings excellent disease resistance to the variety; LG Skyscraper has good resistance ratings for mildew (7), yellow rust (8), brown rust (6) and for Septoria tritici (6).
LG Skyscraper also has Orange Wheat Blossom Midge Resistance (OWBM) which is an important trait that is of increasing value in wheat varieties due to restrictions on insecticide products, says Mr Flatman.
“Currently less than half of the UK wheat crop carries resistance to OWBM. It’s important that the threat to wheat yields from OWBM is not neglected as we have already seen some pretty high midge numbers this spring- so it doesn’t make sense to grow a susceptible variety.”
“This combination of disease resistance offers a variety with improved ratings over many of the feed varieties on the market at present – which is also reflected in LG Skyscraper’s excellent untreated yield performance of 77% of control, way up on that of JB Diego at 61%.”
When considering maturity versus yield, one is often compromised at the expense of the other says Ron Granger, arable technical manager at Limagrain. “Not so with LG Skyscraper that offers a similar maturity to JB Diego (0), but with the bonus of higher yields”.
Limagrain trials suggest that LG Skyscraper has similar standing power as other leading feed varieties already in the market place. Mr Granger points out that 2017 lodging data should be viewed with caution ‘as it was an erratic season with regards to plant growth, and a difficult season for targeted agronomic programmes.’
Limagrain data shows the variety to be high tillering with a semi-prostate winter growth habit, and quicker plant development in the spring – similar to Evolution.
“What this translates to into in the field is that LG Skyscraper is suitable for drilling from the third week of September onwards and also offers a later drilling opportunity with regards to the blackgrass control scenario,” he says.
Limagrain data also suggests that LG Skyscraper performs well as a second wheat, (3-year data set) and this is an area in which we will continue to generate more information.
Mr Flatman points out that LG Skyscraper has excellent grain quality; the variety has a Hagberg Falling Number (HFN) of 216 and specific weight of 77.7, in comparison to the hard feed wheat KWS Santiago, with a HFN of 188 and specific weight of 76.3.
“Once again LG Skyscraper bucks the trend combining very high yields with a very good specific weight.”
“After two years of official testing based on top of these excellent grain quality attributes, LG Skyscraper has been rated as a positive for distilling, making it an attractive proposition for growers in the north.”
So, to summarise, for those growers who are looking to grow a Group 4 and maximise their return on investment, they would have to go far to find a better variety than LG Skyscraper, with its very high yields, grain quality attributes and agronomic merits.