• RAGT Seeds UK

RGT Wolverine – continuing to deliver highly effective BYDV control

RGT Wolverine, Europe’s first commercial winter wheat to feature resistance to barley yellow dwarf virus, is performing outstandingly well in high-pressure BYDV trials for the second year running.

The variety, along with several other lines incorporating the Bdv2 resistance gene, has shrugged off infection despite having been inoculated with virus-laden aphids four times in the autumn and four times in the spring.

The trials, carried out at RAGT Seeds UK headquarters near Ickleton in Cambridgeshire, were sown in early September. Plots have been assessed weekly for disease symptoms from mid-April.

Several popular winter wheats included in the trial have suffered badly, with the worst affected showing severe stunting and yellowing.

“Data so far suggests that some varieties might be more susceptible than others,” says Tom Dummett, cereals and OSR product manager at RAGT Seeds.

“The difference between the Bdv2 lines and the worst-affected susceptible varieties is like chalk and cheese. However, all non-Bdv2 wheats are showing symptoms, from obvious multiple infection sites to stunting throughout the plot.”

In last year’s trial, eight out of 10 non-Bdv2 varieties yielded between 5% and 18% less when left untreated, whereas none of the Bdv2 lines lost yield.

“Whilst this trait is a new introduction to the UK, I would emphasise that over nearly two decades of prolonged commercial use in Australia, it has shown no signs of breaking down to the virus,” says Tom.

RGT Wolverine, a Group 4 hard wheat recently promoted to the Recommended List, delivers exceptional yields even in the absence of BYDV. Rated at 102% of controls, it is capable of competing with any variety in its sector, so growers will not be penalised for choosing it in low-BYDV years.

RGT Wolverine will be widely available this coming autumn, marking a step-change in the way wheat growers manage BYDV in their crops.

Timely arrival

RGT Wolverine contains the Bdv2 resistant gene that originates from a goatgrass, Thinopyrum intermedium, a distant wheat relative.

The variety’s arrival is particularly timely following the withdrawal in 2018 of neonicotinoid seed treatments for wheat.

“After the past two bad autumns we understand that many growers intend to start drilling earlier this coming season to ensure they get wheat in the ground,” says Tom.

“Early drilling is a key risk factor for BYDV and, given the variability in performance of pyrethroid insecticides and the increasing resistance to them, RGT Wolverine is the obvious option, offering season-long protection against BYDV, reducing the need to monitor aphid populations and benefiting the environment.

“BYDV can also cause problems in later-drilled crops, but RGT Wolverine continues to perform consistently well across all regions of the UK, so it makes a good choice for anyone concerned about the disease, wherever they farm.”

RGT Wolverine – key characteristics

  • Europe’s first BYDV-resistant wheat

  • Very high yielding, even when BYDV is absent

  • Consistent performer in all regions

  • Disease resistance scores – yellow rust 5, brown rust 8, Septoria tritici 5.3

  • Excellent straw strength

  • Good grain quality

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