The Best Thing since Sliced Hereward

Updated: Oct 28

By Dr Cathy Hooper, technical sales manager, RAGT Seeds

RGT Illustrious has been delivering high yields of top-quality breadmaking wheat since it was first listed in 2016. The variety remains a firm favourite with many growers who tried it back then, and it is still very popular with millers and is widely accepted for inclusion in the UK grist.

This proven commercial performance, coupled with its good all-round disease resistance, makes it a great choice for any growers looking for a “new” Group 1 this season.

RGT Illustrious came from the same stable as Hereward, which was the mainstay for UK millers for quite some time. Hereward possessed a unique quality that was hard to beat. RGT Illustrious has similar quality properties and bakes a great loaf of bread, even at lower proteins. Like Hereward it is also a perfect partner to other varieties in the milling grist.

When it was recommended, it sat alongside five other Group 1s on the Recommended List. For a number of years the bread-making sector consisted of Hereward, Solstice and Cordiale. Then, like buses, four new Group 1s came along in quick succession: Gallant, Crusoe, Skyfall and Trinity.

They say in life timing is key and when RGT Illustrious was recommended a year after Trinity. There were now six Groups 1s plus Cordiale, an honorary Group 1, and the Group 2 variety Siskin that quickly gained market share. In terms of yield, RGT Illustrious sat in the middle of the Group1s on the 2016 RL.

Fast forward to 2021 and most of RGT Illustrious’s counterparts have gone. Since it was recommended, only one Group 1 variety (Zyatt) has been added to the RL.