Growers, merchants and end users will be able to get up close to some of the most innovative developments emerging from RAGT Seeds’ breeding programmes when the company’s highly informative open days return this summer, subject to COVID restrictions.
A wide range of species will be on show, including RAGT’s impressive line-up of Recommended List wheat varieties, candidate wheats and range of pipeline NL1 and NL2 material.
RAGT’s pioneering wheat breeding programme has a history of ground-breaking developments, and it continues to evolve at pace. Stalwart RGT Skyfall was the first breadmaking wheat with feed-type yield, and it remains the most widely-grown UK quality wheat seven years after its launch.
The breeding programme now combines exceptional yield with robust disease resistance scores, producing some standout varieties such as RGT Saki. Adjacent fungicide-treated and untreated plots of RAGT wheats and many popular RL varieties are guaranteed to spark discussion on the merits or otherwise of the material on show.
RAGT’s plant breeding team has also delivered one of the biggest breakthroughs for years, Europe’s first BYDV-resistant wheat in the shape of RAGT Wolverine. The impressive performance of this and other varieties carrying the resistance gene under high disease pressure will be on view in the extensive BYDV trials (see below).
Other cereals and OSR
Spring barleys, including the global success story that is RGT Planet, together with RGT Asteroid, now attracting keen end-user interest, will be on parade.
So too will RAGT’s range of oilseed rapes, including RGT Beetleblocker, a novel mix of OSR, fenugreek and berseem clover designed to repel flea beetle and now proving itself in trials and on farm.
Current and new winter oats, including RGT Silver, which produces exceptional yields with Mascani-like quality and new spring oat, RGT Vaughan, which features outstanding disease resistance, will also be on show.
Visitors will also be able to view RAGT’s portfolio of high-yielding maize varieties with proven standing power, including newcomer RGT Pixxon which is attracting keen interest in the west.
A selection of soil health plants is sure to attract plenty of interest. Soil health will be a key part of the new ELMS scheme and growers need to ensure the species and varieties they choose will do their job well enough to secure valuable payments. Close inspection is recommended.
RAGT’s BYDV trials provide a fascinating insight into the game-changing BYDV resistance gene now available in RGT Wolverine.
The trials feature a selection of popular RL varieties and RAGT’s BYDV-resistant pipeline material. Plots are inoculated several times during the season with BYDV-infected aphids, to create as much disease pressure as possible.
As last year, this approach is expected to generate stark differences between the varieties and provide a dramatic demonstration of the efficacy of the resistance gene.
Yellow rust nursery
The yellow rust nursery will offer a very topical update on the latest variety susceptibilities to this disease.
Highly susceptible ‘spreader’ varieties have been planted between plots consisting of a range of RL varieties, guaranteeing the highest pressure scenario and giving an excellent insight into the robustness of the most popular wheats on UK farms.
Subject to Covid restrictions, several open days are planned for the early summer at RAGT’s UK headquarters near Ickleton, on the Cambridgeshire/Essex border, for merchants, end users and key farming customers.
Other growers are very welcome to visit the demonstrations, either individually or as a group. Please contact Chrissy Cottrell at firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.