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Gemma Clarke

New wheat varieties available next autumn

We trial new varieties 5 years ahead to ensure we find the most suitable varieties for the organic market possible. The first exciting variety available on a larger commercial level next autumn is KWS Extase. Over 5 years of testing KWS Extase has produced an impressive untreated yield with strong standing ability. The second variety is KWS Firefly, which has shown to be a high yielding variety with good disease resistance. Hear more from Gemma Clarke in her latest blog post…

“While we are still selling organic seed for this Autumn, part of our job is to always be looking ahead, sometimes 5 years ahead for new varieties that offer agronomic and end user benefit. We are uniquely positioned as a seed merchant as we trial material from European breeders as well as supporting UK breeders’ own varieties. When working with European breeders we trial material privately for the first year and if it performs well, we put it into official trials. The official trials process can take between 3-4 years depending on species, hence the need to always be looking ahead.

It has been a few years since we have been able to bring anything new and exciting to you, but next Autumn we will have a number of new wheats suitable to the organic sector. The first and probably most exciting is KWS Extase. A Group 2 variety which was added to this years recommended list was restricted due to the amount of stock seed available to the industry. However, as the exclusive producers of KWS Extase organically, we made sure we ramped up production to ensure good supply for Autumn 2020.

As the 5 year mean for untreated yields (2015-2019) has now been published, we are astonished to see the yield potential of this variety compared to other well-known varieties.

VarietyUntreated Yield Mean (2015-2019)
Skyfall (Group 1)103%
KWS Sisken (Group 2)110%
Revelation (Soft group 4)102%

In fact, out of 8 sites across the UK, KWS Extase came first for untreated yield and second and third in the other 2 sites.

KWS Extase is a tall variety with good standing, so suitable in helping smother out the competition, but it’s most notable quality is its high untreated yield potential, as well as its current high septoria tritici resistance score of 8.1.

The next new variety we will have to offer next Autumn is KWS Firefly.  A group 3 variety, KWS Firefly offers potential for a premium into organic soft markets, similar to that of Elicit and Soft feed variety Revelation. KWS Firefly, like KWS Extase has also been performing very well in untreated trials and offers the highest 5 year mean in untreated yields of any group 3.

VarietyUntreated Yield Mean (2015-2019)
KWS Barrel95%

KWS Firefly is a shorter variety that can be slow to develop so we would advise this variety needs to be sown on your cleaner fields. KWS Firefly has good standing and particularly good resistance to yellow rust, currently scoring a 9. KWS Firefly also has Orange Blossom Midge Resistance.

Finally, we have RGT Saki, the improved Cougar. This variety is still awaiting National Listing, so data is not as easy to access as the other varieties, but its untreated yield is not too far behind Extase and as a soft group 4, will offer some premium earning opportunities.

Keep an eye out for further information on these exciting new varieties…”