Your Seed Team at Astley

Wynnstay has a proud history of supplying quality seed to our farm customers and as we move into a new era of smart sustainable farming, Wynnstay is set to make sure that customers have the best seed technology and advice available to them. Whether it is over the phone, email or on-farm we have a dedicated seed team across the UK servicing their needs.

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Best Autumn Cereals revealed at Trials Event

Growers and agronomists from across the UK will be selecting the top-performing cereal varieties to use on-farm this autumn at Wynnstay Woodheads Arable event.
The popular annual event on Thursday, 20th June, at Stockbridge Technology Centre, Selby, in Yorkshire, will help growers to make informed decisions on the best varieties to choose ahead of autumn.

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Is Yield Still King?

For UK wheat growers, trying to decide between choosing a crop with high yield or a crop with good grain quality is not a new dilemma.

Many different varieties on the market provide the option to grow a quality grain but this often means having to endure a small yield penalty and increased growing costs. The question is then posed; is the decision to forego that few percent of yield worth it and will premiums compensate for this loss? Currently, we have around 27% of the UK wheat area sown to Group 1 varieties, higher than it has been for many years, and we have the unusual scenario of Skyfall being the most widely grown variety in the UK.


UK wheat market share figures
The market share of quality wheats and feed varieties. Of particular interest is the share of Group 1s which has increased to around 27%.

The large amount of breadmaking wheat on the market is likely to give millers the option to pick and choose their requirements, meaning that premiums may suffer accordingly. At the time of writing, Group 1 premiums for harvest 2018 are predicted to be around £15/T. Group 2 plantings are also on the increase with KWS Lili and KWS Siskin growing in popularity, mainly due to their high yield and solid agronomics. Recent developments with KWS Siskin mean it has the potential to generate a premium on par with the Group 1’s, in a similar way to Cordiale, but it will need a 13% protein to achieve this and that will be a challenge. Group 2 premiums are generally expected to be around £10/T for full milling specification.

Premiums for Group 3 biscuit wheats have recently been similar to those of the very best breadmaking varieties and this may continue as plantings have not increased dramatically. The chart above shows that the area into Group 3 varieties is at a very low level and current trade expectations are that premiums will be around £10/T.

New Group 3 varieties offer high yield potential and solid agronomics but there is still a yield gap to make up on the top feed varieties, particularly in the western region.

The newer, very high yielding feed varieties offer the best yields available, particularly RGT Gravity that out-yields everything else regardless of region, rotational position or soil type. Graham also yields just as well in the western region.

The charts on the next page show how the potential returns from growing the top performing varieties in each of the nabim groups.

Yields are taken from the AHDB Recommended List for both the east and west regions. Whilst a good quality hard feed wheat can often achieve a small premium, for this exercise we have assumed a standard feed wheat price is paid. Full premiums are often not achieved, and in recognition of this, the charts show the income by variety where the full premium is achieved (blue bars) and where only half the premium is achieved (orange bars).

Agronomic factors such as straw strength and disease ratings have not been taken into account in the assessments. This produces slightly unrealistic results as ratings for yellow rust and septoria tritici would, in normal circumstances, have a huge impact on variety choice, particularly in areas of the country susceptible to these diseases. This would greatly increase the appeal of the cleaner, lower risk varieties such as KWS Siskin, Graham or KWS Zyatt.

Adjustments have been made for an extra 40 kg/ha of N on the Group 1 and Group 2 varieties.


Eastern region
Growing for the local market is a well-known adage. There are good markets for Group 1 varieties in the east and the market conditions for Group 2’s across the UK are determined by the supply and demand of quality milling wheats at harvest. However, the current dominance of biscuit wheats in the east is demonstrated to be a sensible economic decision in this simple comparison.

Whilst KWS Zyatt has the top rating at the full premium level, the Group 3 wheats Elicit and KWS Barrel have a high ‘gross output’ at both premium levels. This is reassuring to see as these soft milling biscuit wheats are popular with end users in this region and are sure to be favoured by growers too.

The blue bars show the return if the full premium is achieved.
The orange bars show the return if half the premium is achieved.


Western region
In the west, the variety that stands out again is the breadmaking wheat KWS Zyatt, which produces a very attractive income. However, when looking at the bars for half premium, which may be considered more realistic, the hard feed varieties RGT Gravity and Graham are not far behind. Graham scores particularly well in the west where it yields on a par with RGT Gravity and has excellent septoria resistance. These feed varieties compare well with the other nabim group options when looking at the half premium rates and, as we have often seen, can generate a small premium themselves if possessing good grain quality.

The blue bars show the return if the full premium is achieved.
The orange bars show the return if half the premium is achieved.


The charts show that there are relatively small differences between the output of the top varieties in the four nabim groups. Increased plantings of Group 1s are expected to generate relatively modest premiums but it is reassuring to see that, in this exercise, the soft biscuit wheats have excellent returns in the east (where most of the end use markets can be found) and in the west (where most

Whilst KWS Zyatt has the top rating at the full premium level, the Group 3 wheats Elicit and KWS Barrel have a high ‘gross output’ at both premium levels. This is reassuring to see as these soft milling biscuit wheats are popular with end users in this region and are sure to be favoured by growers too.

west where it yields on a par with RGT Gravity and has excellent septoria resistance. These feed varieties compare well with the other nabim group options when looking at the half premium rates and, as we have often seen, can generate a small premium themselves if possessing good grain quality. feed mills exist) the charts show the feed varieties producing a high ‘gross output’. The one variety that bucks this trend is KWS Zyatt which has huge potential in both regions. This is a wheat that can be successfully grown in the 1st and 2nd wheat position, has a very high untreated yield demonstrating solid disease ratings, and is sure to be favoured by growers across the UK.

Richard Torr

Richard Torr
Seed Sales Manager
m: 07990 578551
Email Richard

Winter wheat to watch: 2018

Seed Manager, Richard Torr, offers a first look at winter wheats to watch this season.

We have new varieties that raise the bar for yield and the gap between quality wheats and feed varieties is close. In Group 1 KWS Zyatt and Group 2 KWS Siskin will be huge varieties and the new Group 3 Elicit will also attract attention.

Whilst all have excellent potential a gap still exists between these varieties and the very top performing feed wheats and we expect these to be the dominant varieties, particularly in the west. With this is mind, there are three obvious front runners to look out for this season when selecting your high yielding winter feed wheat variety; RGT Gravity, Gleam and Graham.


The three G’s leading the way in 2018


          RGT Gravity brings a new standard for yield in every position on the farm.

RGT Gravity is newly recommended as the highest yielding wheat on the AHDB Recommended List and it produces those top yields wherever it is grown.

It is highest in all UK regions, highest on light land and heavy land, highest 1st and 2nd wheat. This consistency is rarely seen in feed varieties and the opportunity to raise yield levels will be taken up by many growers in 2018. It has moderately stiff straw and a disease package that means it needs a decent fungicide programme. Grain quality is good and seed supplies are reasonable for this autumn.


GLEAM (Syngenta)
Gleam is newly available for 2018. It is very slightly behind RGT Gravity for yield but does have a slightly stronger agronomic package and will be popular. The disease profile is strong with no real weaknesses. Straw strength is good, and it performs as a 1st or 2nd wheat. It also shows promise as a potential early drilling wheat, though we would not recommend sowing before September 7th. Seed supplies of Gleam are tight for 2018.


GRAHAM (Syngenta)
Graham was successfully introduced two years ago and has developed into our top selling variety in the west.

It has one of the best resistance ratings to septoria tritici on the list (rated 6.9), a point that will be popular throughout the UK, particularly in the western region, where it is the equal highest yielding variety available.

It has good grain quality, produces its best yields as a 1st wheat, stiff straw and, with relatively slow development, it could be a very useful option for relatively early drilling. It is also one of the earliest maturing feed varieties which adds to the appeal.


For more information, call 01939 210777 or click here to find your local specialist.

Tips for achieving high yields in late drilled wheat

Winter wheat is still an option for many to consider between now and January. However, it is always advisable to make sure you are aware of the latest sowing date which is safe for your specific variety before considering spring crops as an alternative.

For spring crops, fast crop establishment is vital. However, conditions can be less than favourable and can rapidly change during this time of year, so to get the best from your crop, this is something that you will need to pay careful attention to.


1. Check the conditions are right
Soil must be in an optimum condition to drill. Drilling at an even depth is important. Drilling late when temperatures are lower will slow down establishment, which in turn may place greater emphasis on effective slug control. Good seed contact with the soil is vital for ensuring successful early crop growth. Therefore, if the conditions aren’t right avoid drilling it until spring.

If the soil is fit over the winter, it is fine to drill but remember to disturb as little soil as possible, as this will reduce the risk of stirring the blackgrass present.

The suggested drill depth is 3-4cm so the seed is deep enough to avoid residual chemistry, but not too deep that it deters the crop from emerging rapidly.


2. Speak to a specialist about varieties
When sowing late, selecting the right variety is an important factor to consider.

KWS Siskin looks particularly well suited to late drilling conditions. However, if you are looking for a feed wheat option for late drilling KWS Crispin stands out within the market.


3. Treating the seed
Deter seed treatment is an option and protects against slug hollowing and BYDV. Manganese or Phosphite dressings are another option, encouraging early rooting. The recently introduced Vibrance Duo is particularly well suited to later sown wheat as it helps with speed of establishment, though a single purpose dressing is often used.


4. Increase seed rates when sowing
It is extremely important to adjust to conditions on the day. As we progress into the late drilling window, the percentage of seeds which germinate declines. Establishment decreases from over 70% when sown by start of October, then by approximately 5% per fortnight, to less than 50% in December.


5. Weeds and pests
For cost effective broad-leaved weed and annual meadow grass control it is usually advised to apply a pre-emergence herbicide. There may be little chance to make peri or post emergence applications due to ground conditions. Often if it is fit to drill it is usually fit to spray.

Crops should be monitored for slug damage. As previously mentioned, Deter seed treatment will reduce the risk of seed hollowing by slugs, but it does little to limit their grazing at the soil surface. If an application of slug pellets is considered to be necessary, consider the options available. If pellets containing metaldehyde are used, stewardship guidelines should be followed which limit the amount of the active ingredient applied; also metaldehyde-based slug pellets should not be allowed to fall within 10m of a field boundary. These restrictions do not apply to pellets containing ferric phosphate.


6. Invest in crop nutrition
Feeding crops is vital to keep late-drilled wheat going through the winter months. It is important that your N, P and K are all being applied correctly, efficiently and sustainably and most importantly at the right balance that your land requires. It is key to be aware of the overall nutritional picture of each field.

To understand what you’re working with, soil sampling should be common place on-farm to ensure pH, N, P and K levels aren’t hampering plant growth and development. The balance of these key nutrients is very important. For example, Nitrogen (N) helps with plant growth, driving production and improving the quality of forage crops, while Phosphate (P) encourages root growth, establishment and development, and Potash (K) helps with protein production to maintain healthy plant cells.

It is recommended to soil sample your fields every 3-4 years. Following this, an effective fertiliser plan should be implemented to manage N, P and K requirements. Our team of Wynnstay agronomists and specialists work with you to create bespoke crop nutrition plans to ensure that you are achieving maximum crop margins.


7. PGR Applications
An application of the plant growth regulator trinexapac-ethyl (e.g. Moddus) early in the spring can help to improve tiller retention, promote rooting and help to prevent lodging.

To find your local specialist, please click here.
Alternatively, for more information, please call the Seed Department: 01939 210777

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