Updated: Jun 24
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 trials, carried out at RAGT Seeds’ UK headquarters near Ickleton in Cambridgeshire, were sown in early September and were inoculated with virus-laden aphids four times in the autumn and four times in the spring, mimicking extreme infection pressure in the field.
Plots were assessed weekly for disease symptoms from mid-April.
RGT Wolverine, along with several other lines incorporating the Bdv2 gene that confers resistance to BYDV, shrugged off infection. However, several widely grown winter wheats included in the trial 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.
“All 13 non-Bdv2 wheats in the trial are showing symptoms, from obvious multiple infection sites to stunting throughout the plot. But the difference between the worst-affected varieties and the Bdv2 lines is like chalk and cheese.”
In last year’s trial, eight out of 10 non-Bvd2 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.
RGT Wolverine contains the Bdv2 resistant gene that originates from a goat grass, Thinopyrum intermedium, a distant wheat relative.
The variety’s arrival is timely, following the withdrawal of neonicotinoid seed treatments for wheat.
“After the past two wet 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. RGT Wolverine performs 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