Robust and resilient – Skyfall leads Agrii’s wheat sustainability index

Skyfall has taken top place in the first-ever sustainability ratings published by Agrii for today’s 34 leading winter wheats.

The ratings are designed to help growers pick varieties that offer the greatest agronomic strength with the least production risk and environmental impact.

They are provided as part of the 2020 Agrii Advisory List which complements the AHDB Recommended List, providing extra analyses and statistically-robust agronomic data from the company’s extensive national and regional variety testing programme.

“This is no criticism of the RL,” stresses Agrii head of agronomy, Colin Lloyd. “We are looking at performance under commercial farming regimes rather than primarily genetic potential.”

The sustainability scores are calculated from separate ratings for 11 key characters – resistance to the three main foliar diseases, lodging (treated and untreated); orange blossom midge; yield resilience and consistency; grassweed competitiveness; specific weight and latest optimum sowing date.

These ratings are weighted according to their importance in offering performance reliability, management flexibility and the potential for reducing pesticide use and overall cost/tonne. They are then added together, giving a maximum current sustainability score of 37.

Individual wheat scores range from a high of 30 to a low of 14, with an average of 21.

“The sustainability ratings we have added to our long-standing Advisory Lists for wheat and barley from this season provide an unbiased way of comparing the overall robustness and resilience of today’s genetics,” says Colin.

“This will help growers and their agronomists narrow down their initial winter wheat and barley choices from the plethora of main varieties on offer today.”

Skyfall achieved the highest score on the list, with an overall sustainable score of 30, Although it is not the highest yielding wheat, its consistency more than made up for that.

It achieved particularly high ratings for grassweed competitiveness, late sowing potential and OWBM resistance, backed by stiff straw and reasonable disease resistance, all of which reduce the risk of growing wheat.

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