Since it was first introduced, RGT Skyfall has seldom featured as a late sowing winter wheat in growers’ plans. Thanks to its popularity, it has always sold out well ahead of that timing.
This year, however with the increased area of production, there will be enough seed to meet the needs of a good proportion of growers looking for a reliable late performer – one that will deliver excellent yields and superb quality, right up to an end-of-February sowing date.
Indeed, in Agrii trials, RGT Skyfall has performed superbly well drilled from November through until April, thanks to its growth habit and highly suitable parental lines.
This excellent flexibility, more than any other variety available, is partly due to the fact that RGT Skyfall only needs a limited amount of vernalisation. The variety has the widest sowing window*, and one of the top performances, whenever it has been sown within that window.
AHDB would recommend drilling up until the end of February, although commercially it has been fine up until mid-March.
The extent of RGT Skyfall’s sowing window has been clearly demonstrated at Agrii’s late-drilled trial site at Langley. The variety also delivered a strong second wheat performance, coming top of the Group 1 and 2 varieties.
Of course, it’s not just in the late slot that RGT Skyfall performs well. Growers up and down the country have experienced its excellent performance from conventional sowing dates across a range of soil types, which is backed up by its strong showing in Recommended List trials.
It’s not only the UKs leading Group 1, but still the variety that millers prefer.
Agronmically it is strong too, and is the only winter bread making variety with orange wheat blossom midge resistance. It has the best available Fusarium tolerance and a good Septoria tritici score, and has the stiffest canopy of any of the Group 1s.
RGT Skyfall also exhibits excellent quality. In Recommended List strip trials between 2013 and 2016 it has shown very good protein levels and extremely high specific weights. We are still awaiting AHDB quality data from 2017.
Gleadell Agriculture’s seed manager Chris Guest says Skyfall has cemented its popularity on farm, not only as the UK farmers’ favourite Group 1, but also as the most widely grown wheat of any type across the country.
In Gleadells 2017 milling wheat survey, over 3,500 samples of RGT Skyfall were tested, more than any other variety. Results underlined farmers’ faith in the variety – it showed overall scores for protein at 13.03%, specific weight at 77.15 kg/hl and an average Hagberg of 251.39, in what has been a far-from-easy harvest.
“Varieties like RGT Skyfall that perform as well on farm as they do in trial are hard to come by, but that is exactly what growers are looking for in a variety when chasing Group 1 premiums,” says Mr Guest.
Warburtons cereal development director Bob Beard says the company remains pleased with the overall performance of Skyfall.
“Whilst Hagbergs had suffered in places due to protracted harvest conditions, protein levels have held up well and good specific weights are reported too,” he notes. “Early indications are of an improved milling and baking performance compared with last year’s crop.”
* Mid-September through until mid-March