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Top tips for selecting a wheat variety

Agronomy Issues
SY Insitor

Harvest is well under way and it is time to start thinking about the season ahead and finalising variety selections. This has been an extreme season for several reasons and the impacts of Covid-19 have meant that in-field variety tours have been extremely limited, which can make selecting varieties a little more challenging.

Syngenta have four hard group 4 varieties on the Recommended List. Each has a unique agronomic profile and growth habit to address the different needs of UK feed wheat growers. Here are some of our top tips for selecting the right variety for your farm.  

Regional performance

Regional performance is a good indicator for local suitability. SY INSITOR is the geographically flexible top yielding hard group 4 option for all regions. However, GRAHAM for example would not be recommended North of Edinburgh.

Drilling date

Target drill date is another critical factor to consider when selecting a variety. In some scenarios, early September drilling remains both practical and effective – particularly where grass weed pressures and BYDV risks are minimal. For early drilling, we would recommend varieties that have robust disease profiles for primary diseases, (particularly Yellow Rust and Septoria tritici), stiff straw and slow overwinter development to avoid excessive biomass in spring. GLEAM and GRAHAM are both excellent options here as they can both be drilled from the start of September. GLEAM has an extremely wide drilling window, so if we are to endure another autumn like we had in 2019, GLEAM offers the flexibility with planting date and is an option which will perform whether drilled early or late.

Varieties with significant early spring vigour may be appealing if you are planning to drill slightly later due to workload, BYDV or grass weed pressures. SY INSITOR and SHABRAS fit extremely well here. Faster development and additional vigour in early spring makes these varieties well suited to delayed drilling and makes them more effective at competing with grass weeds.

Disease profiles

Disease profiles of varieties is becoming a greater priority for many and it poses the question, why grow a variety with less than a 6 for Septoria? With fewer options of effective chemistry, including the withdrawal of multi-site fungicide, chlorothalonil, more and more focus moves on to varietal resistance. Syngenta varieties combine high yield potential with strong Septoria resistance which reduces risk and these varieties are more forgiving in seasons where fungicide application timings may be compromised.

     There are several varieties which offer the combination of high yield potential and Septoria resistance.

Selecting feed varieties with high yield, both untreated and treated is a good way of securing a profitable crop. Those looking for out and out yield combined with excellent grain quality will be excited by our newly recommended SY INSITOR which is top of the list for yield in both the North and the West and is also the highest yielding hard group 4 in the East.

Rotation and soil type

Finally, the specifics of rotational position and soil type should be taken into account. Some varieties, such as GRAHAM excel in the first wheat position whereas varieties such as SY INSITOR and GLEAM remain two of the best options as either first or second wheats.

Syngenta have a diverse portfolio of strong varieties and hope that this summary has helped you to select the variety that is right for your farm.  We wish you a good harvest and hope for more favourable weather conditions next season.