New range of BYDV-resistant wheats put to the test

Trials comparing new BYDV-resistant wheats from RAGT with popular conventional varieties will provide a fascinating insight into this game-changing trait at the company’s open days in June.

The resistance gene, Bdv2, was commercially launched in Europe in RGT Wolverine in 2019. RAGT is the only plant breeder to offer this resistance in Europe and this is the third season the company has carried out trials to test the concept under extreme pressure.

Tom Dummett - OSR & Cereals Manager

This season RAGT is assessing the potential of several near-market BYDV-resistant varieties that could be on farm within two to three years.

“Two of the varieties are feed types in National List 2 trials and three are potential milling wheats that are a year behind these,” says RAGT’s Tom Dummett.

“All the varieties are also resistant to orange wheat blossom midge, raising the prospect of insecticide-free wheat for many growers. We’ve also included several other more distant wheat lines so visitors can view the range of material coming forward.”

The fully replicated trials are pitching the performance of these resistant varieties against a selection of widely grown RL varieties that of course don’t carry the gene.

Most plots have been inoculated several times during the season with BYDV-infected aphids, to create as much disease pressure as possible, while the rest have been left alone to assess the effect of natural infection at the Ickleton site.

Earlier results

Over the past two years RAGT’s inoculated Bdv2 material showed no symptoms obviously associated with BYDV.

All the inoculated conventional winter wheats exhibited severe symptoms, including multiple infection sites, and produced lower yields, up to 18% last year.

“The Bdv2 gene offers protection from the day the wheat is planted to the day it is harvested - for about the same cost buying and applying a single pyrethroid spray, while greatly simplifying crop management and benefiting the environment,” says Tom.

“Like the past two seasons, we are expecting the trial to provide a dramatic demonstration of the efficacy of the resistance gene.”

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