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A good crop starts with the seed

Winter Wheat

As another ‘out of the ordinary’ season draws to a close and the drilling of wheat crops commences, we share technical information on our varieties to help you position them on farm and establish a good crop, which starts with the seed. This season has tested variety resilience and really shown the true value of proven varieties that deliver on farm.

Variety choice

First and foremost, selecting a variety recommended for your chosen end-market is a good starting point. Syngenta have four hard group 4 varieties on the current Recommended List. Each has a unique agronomic profile and growth habit to address the different needs of UK feed wheat growers. Below are some of our top tips for selecting the right variety for your farm and how to get them off to the best start.

Regional yield and grain quality

Whilst UK yields give an interesting insight into a variety’s potential, regional performance is a good indicator for local suitability of varieties. SY INSITOR and GLEAM have no geographic limitations across the UK and are an excellent choice in all regions. SY INSITOR however, does perform particularly well in the North of England and Scotland. GRAHAM excels in the Western region, being the joint top yielding variety on the current Recommended List and showing strong performance again in trials this season.

Harvest 2021 has been challenging for specific weight and has demonstrated the importance of selecting varieties with inherently high grain quality to ensure contract specifications are met. SY INSITOR, GRAHAM and GLEAM all offer an ideal combination of high yield and good specific weight, which have all delivered above market standards this year, despite the challenging conditions.

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 and risk of frost damage to the ear in spring.  GRAHAM is a particularly strong option for September drilling. 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

This season has seen higher than expected Septoria tritici which came in relatively late. With fewer options of effective chemistry available, including the relatively recent withdrawal of multi-site fungicide, chlorothalonil, more and more focus moves on to varietal resistance. Syngenta varieties, in particular GRAHAM and SY INSITOR 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.

Rotation and soil type

The specifics of rotational position and soil type should be taken into account when selecting a variety. Some varieties, such as GRAHAM excel in the first wheat position. Independent data shows GRAHAM to be a low take-all build up variety which further supports the use of GRAHAM as a first wheat, where second wheats are planned.  SY INSITOR and GLEAM remain two of the best options whether drilling as first or second wheats.

SY INSITOR is the highest yielding variety on light land which may well be linked to its aggressive early root development.