Skyfall – the low-vern wheat with a wide drilling window

Updated: Jan 27

Tom Dummett, RAGT cereal and oilseed rape product manager, provides a quick review of Skyfall’s attributes as a late-drilled wheat.

Growers considering a spring cereal to reduce blackgrass or to follow a cover crop or roots could still choose Skyfall as a potentially more profitable alternative.

Skyfall has consistently proved its worth as a very late driller, thanks to its very low vernalisation requirement.

Most fully recommended varieties have an advised sowing cut-off the of end of January to ensure they have a long-enough period of low temperatures to trigger the transition from vegetative to reproductive phase (vernalisation).

Only Skyfall and four others have an end-of February advisory sowing limit. However, we at RAGT back Skyfall to the end of the first week of March.

As well as its low vernalisation requirement, Skyfall is also vigorous, helping it to withstand less-than-ideal conditions. It has been very consistent across all regions and farmers know how to grow it.

RAGT glasshouse tests have shown:

  • Little difference between varieties subjected to relatively long vernalisation periods of 56 and 42 days below 5°C

  • After 28 days all Skyfall plants successfully carried ears while the percentage of other varieties in ear ranged from 0% to 50%

  • After just two weeks of vernalisation, 79% of Skyfall plants produced ears, while the rest failed.

Yields are unlikely to exceed 6-7t/ha when drilled late February/early March, but at current wheat prices with a level of inputs that reflects expectations without compromising performance, Skyfall will still produce a decent margin even if it doesn’t make milling specification.

Our advice is to:

  • Maintain seed rates – plan for 400 seeds towards the end of February to maintain optimum ear number potential

  • Plan a sensible inputs programme to optimise crop prospects, particularly given current grain prices.

  • Be aware of that late-sown crops develop rapidly – plan inputs accordingly.

Download the latest RGT Skyfall data sheet: Here

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