RGT Saki – all set for an early start

Growers updating their winter wheat portfolio, including early drillers, should take a close look at RGT Saki, one of the most exciting varieties to hit the Recommended List in recent years, says RAGT Seeds technical sales manager Cathy Hooper.

RGT Saki ticks many boxes, including exceptional fungicide-treated and untreated yields, underpinned by excellent agronomics and disease resistance scores.

It also has a wide sowing window and can be drilled early. RGT Saki’s potential was demonstrated in 2018 in RAGT trials drilled on 25 September, when it yielded 110% of controls, while Skyscraper and Santiago managed 105% and 103% respectively.

The following year, in trials drilled on 14 September, RGT Saki produced 108% of controls, equal to Skyscraper and a point ahead of Santiago. It is very likely to turn in a similar performance when drilled in the first week of September.

The variety also produces very heavy yields when late-drilled, rated at 107 on the Recommended List.

Some growers in the north might be wary of the variety’s RL ripening score of +3. However, Santiago, one of RGT Saki’s parents, was a +3 when it was recommended, and ended up as +1. We think RGT Saki will end up in a similar position.

Sowing date trials carried out in 2019 reinforce that thought – the dataset showed the earlier RGT Saki was drilled, the more it closed the gap on Skyfall, which is rated 0.

RGT Saki’s agronomic profile fits with how many forward-thinking farmers are choosing varieties, taking account of the overall genetic package as well as high yields.

Strong disease scores are becoming increasingly important as disease resistance and legislation reduce the effectiveness of the fungicide armoury.

The variety also features a high untreated yield, reflecting its resilience. It also has a very high fungicide-treated score. If you want to push yields and take a belt-and-braces approach it will respond. However, if you are unable to treat the crop at the right time or want to take a lower input approach, your yield is still protected.

The variety is a consistent performer as a first or second wheat, on light and heavy soils. It’s a slow developing variety through the autumn and winter with a prostrate growth habit.

RAGT expects to have enough seed available this autumn to supply 6-7% of certified wheat seed sales.

RGT Saki – key points

· Excellent treated (104%) and untreated (86%) yields

· Exceptional disease resistance – yellow rust 9, brown rust 8, Septoria tritici 6.8, mildew 6, fusarium 6

· OWBM resistant

· Good grain quality

· Good straw strength

· Flexible – drilling date, rotational position, light/heavy soils

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