Demand for Elicit and Elation set to continue from Scottish growers according to seeds specialist
Selecting non-Cougar crosses could be a successful part of risk management strategies this Autumn.
Winter wheat varieties Elicit and Elation remain extremely popular with northern growers and future demand could remain high given both offer wide marketability and have no genetic link to Cougar in their parentage says Don Peters, Commercial Seeds Specialist for agronomy advice and seeds supplier Agrii.
Along with the AHDB, Adas and many others Don is monitoring varieties genetically linked to Cougar and is concerned that some varieties with the link are displaying much higher levels of septoria tritici than their RL disease resistance scores would suggest.
“Although the problem currently seems to be largely confined to growers further South septoria tritici isn’t going away, so I would certainly advise growers further North to look at widening varietal choice this Autumn to include some non-Cougar crosses to reduce their exposure. That would be a wise move if the AHDB are correct in proving that Cougar parentage equates to a significant weakness to Septoria. Certainly, Elicit and Elation would be sound choices and despite their different classifications both are similar high yielding soft wheats that are ideal for distilling and export.
“Elation is an extremely versatile variety that can be drilled as either a first or second wheat. It suits both light and heavy land and is a sound option for growers considering a mid-season sowing date onwards. Having worked with the variety in trials across several years I would argue that its RL disease scores on both yellow rust and septoria tritici are higher than the official RL ratings with yellow rust a very solid 9 and septoria tritici certainly closer to a 5. In terms of end markets, Elation is certainly capable of meeting the specifications for a soft biscuit wheat as well as ticking the boxes for UK distilling and export.
“Looking at the continued demand for the Nabim group 3 wheat Elicit, it seems to have maintained popularity among Scottish growers due to a high specific weight of 77.3 kg/hl combined with some solid disease scores that include a 6 for septoria tritici, a 7 on brown rust and, as with Elation, a 9 on yellow rust. It can be sown anytime from mid-September through to late January so there’s a lot of flexibility on drilling dates and with a 7 for resistance to lodging in the absence of a plant growth regulator it has excellent standing ability. Again, its fully approved for both UK biscuit making and as a soft wheat for export and generates significant demand from distillers” he concludes.
Scott Campbell of Kirkton Farm Kinellar in Aberdeenshire, a former Farmers Weekly arable farmer of the year award winner, supports Don’s view and agrees that the non-Cougar parentage of both Elicit and Elation offers genetic diversity that could be helpful to growers trying to reduce the risk of septoria tritici by widening their choice of soft wheats for Autumn drilling.
“Both are robust, early maturing types that do well in the growing conditions we have up here and suit my preferred mid-September drilling window. I’ve grown both varieties before, they yield consistently well, and I plan to grow a large percentage of Elicit again this Autumn if seed supply allows.
“Of the two varieties, Elicit seems to be slightly stronger on septoria resistance, it has a high tillering ability and is quick to grow away again in Spring meaning it is a competitive variety. Whilst it can be grown for biscuit, even if it doesn’t meet the specification then it still offers a high specific weight suitable for the feed market. With the Cougar link a potentially serious septoria issue for many varieties I’d say Elicit is definitely worth keeping on side as part of a risk management strategy” he adds.