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New high-yielding winter wheat brings additional timely benefits

Product Update
Shabras winter wheat

A new, high-yielding winter feed wheat variety that could also help growers respond to current industry challenges is being launched for this autumn.


New hard endosperm feed wheat Shabras has full recommendation in the UK on the AHDB Recommended List, says Samantha Brooke, seed manager for breeder Syngenta. It also has the highest UK treated yield figure of winter wheats with UK-wide recommendation, she points out.


But it also combines its yield with characteristics that could provide a timely response to current grain price volatility and agronomy challenges, she adds.


“Volatile grain prices, as well as the need to reduce fixed costs, and problems controlling the major wheat disease of Septoria tritici and major weed problem of black-grass, mean growers have to use a wide range of techniques to manage these issues,” says Mrs Brooke. “Variety choice plays an important role.


“Shabras not only offers an excellent UK treated yield of 106% on the AHDB Recommended List – equating to 11.3 t/ha – it also yields very consistently. Its relative yields have only varied by 1 or 2% across different seasons and regions.


“Achieving high yields reliably is an important consideration with volatile grain prices. The last thing you want is for a crop to deliver an unexpectedly low yield if it turns into a low grain price year.”


Additionally, Mrs Brooke says other characteristics of Shabras fit well alongside current agronomic and workload challenges that growers face.


“As black-grass has become more difficult to control, growers have increasingly adopted later drilling to reduce populations of the weed emerging in winter cereals. Shabras is well-suited to later drilling. In fact, as a quick-growing variety in spring, it doesn’t want to be drilled too early. It is suitable for drilling from the second week of September onwards.


“Also, as Septoria tritici has become more difficult, Shabras provides a good Septoria tritici resistance rating of 6.2 on the AHDB Recommended List. It is one of a number of newer varieties – including Graham launched last year – providing better Septoria tritici resistance,” she adds.


At the end of the season, Mrs Brooke says another key advantage of Shabras is early maturity – providing a maturity rating of minus one on the AHDB Recommended List. “Including early-harvested varieties in rotations helps to spread machinery and labour use, to help reduce fixed costs. That is also another advantage of a later-drilled variety,” she adds.


“For grain quality, Shabras offers a solid specific weight and high Hagberg falling number, above minimum industry standards. It has also yielded well when grown as a first or second cereal.


“Overall, the arrival of Shabras offers growers the prospect of high and consistent yields, practical benefits throughout the season in response to some key industry issues, and is suitable for growing as a first or second wheat.”


Among its other characteristics, Mrs Brooke says Shabras is a moderately tall variety with good resistance to lodging and responds well to PGR applications. It has an eight rating against yellow rust on the current AHDB Recommended List, and although its brown rust resistance is lower, it has a seven rating against mildew, she notes.