RGT Silversurfer – “A Pretty Tidy Variety”

Exceptional disease resistance combined with very high yields are the hallmark of RGT Silversurfer, a new hard feed wheat that is up for recommendation this autumn.

Few people outside RAGT Seeds know more about RGT Silversurfer than Colin Lloyd, Agrii’s head of agronomy, who has been keeping a close eye on the variety in company trials.

“We work closely with RAGT early on in a variety’s life if we think it has promise, and RGT Silversurfer is no exception,” says Colin.

“We’ve certainly put it through its paces over the past couple of years and it has shaped up well.”

Overall, this season the variety was the highest scoring of all Group 4 RL Candidate varieties in Agrii’s new wheat sustainability index, which identifies varieties with the greatest agronomic strengths that offer least risk and environmental impact.

This index is based on scores for 11 key variety characteristics weighted according to importance – resistance to the three main foliar diseases, lodging (treated and untreated); orange blossom midge resistance; yield resilience and consistency; grassweed competitiveness; specific weight and latest optimum sowing date.

RGT Silversurfer has performed exceptionally well under high disease pressure over the past couple of seasons.

“Septoria tritici was late to get going, generally speaking, but when it did it came in with a vengeance,” says Colin. “We had two or three sites where it really took hold, but RGT Silversurfer held itself together in some pretty tricky situations.”

As a result, Agrii scores the variety at 7.9 for Septoria resistance, well above its official rating of 6.7.

“Its Septoria resistance suggests it will do very well in the west, but it will also perform very well anywhere from the borders down through the main wheat belts, especially for growers who are more risk averse."

“Its yield is absolutely fine, within a percent or two of the top, which is unlikely to be noticed on farm.”

Official scores for yellow and brown rust are 9 and 7 respectively, although Agrii puts the latter at 5.3. “That is still reasonably robust for this disease – most varieties on the RL are dreadful,” he says. The variety also benefits from OWBM resistance.

Straw strength is good – RGT Silversurfer is reasonably tall but responds well to a good PGR programme if pushed for yield.

The variety’s blackgrass suppression is scored as good in Agrii trials. “It is nicely competitive – it could do a lot worse,” says Colin.

Grain quality is fine, he adds. At 76.1kg/hl, specific weight easily exceeds the Group 4 feed minimum.

“A competitive yield is pretty fundamental when choosing a variety, but all these other traits are incredibly important too,” says Colin. “Overall, RGT Silversurfer looks to be a pretty tidy variety.”

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