SOME popular varieties of wheat and barley are already in short supply following steady demand and an early start to the season.

Following one of the easiest harvests for barley and rape in recent memory, farmers have seen what is performing well and are homing in on several key varieties.

Glacier winter barley for example has topped the NIAB trials at Croft this year and is now seen as a very strong alternative to the popular, but expensive hybrids.

With its good disease resistance and excellent specific weight, this variety will be our top selling variety by some way.

Grafton has again been the first wheat into Mole Agriculture’s seed plant this year with its quality and earliness of maturity, coupled with its ability to be drilled early, ensuring this variety retains a loyal following.

The early drilling slot, however, is being increasingly filled by the higher yielding group four soft wheat Horatio, being earlier to mature than many of the newer varieties recently added to the HGCA Recommended List.

Horatio is reported to be looking well in the area and is promising some exceptional yields.

As with all early drillers, crops will come under more disease pressure, so it would be well worthwhile ensuring the seed is dressed with a Fluquinconazole based seed treatment and followed up with a robust fungicide programme throughout the growing season.

For the second wheat slot, once again growers have the choice of the UK’s most popular wheat variety, JB Diego, which has proved its consistency over several challenging seasons.

Those growers wishing to look at an alternative second wheat need look no further than KWS Gator. Specifically suited to the second wheat slot, this variety looked exceptional at our Croft site.

Its northern yield is exceptional and it is one of only four wheat varieties resistant to yellow rust at both the seedling and adult plant stages, a useful tool in its armoury in what has been a high disease pressure year.

Latitude once again is the most popular seed treatment for second wheats; however growers shouldn’t discount Galmano 4.5. This multi-purpose seed treatment offers growers combined take-all reduction and early season control of the rusts.

The good start to the season has already seen the Mole Agriculture seed plant having processed approximately 1,000t of barley and 500tonnes of wheat, most of which is already back on farm in record time.

For further information regarding all aspects of varietal choice, please contact Peter Collins, seed manager, Mole Agriculture on 01325 504644.