Decisions Decisions

The last seven days have brought a rather quiet week to the grain markets; America’s 4th July celebrations appear to have extended into this week, the Black Sea harvest is progressing well but the Russian’s aren’t yet revealing any further ‘official’ information regarding yields and quality and most of Europe is enjoying the current warm spell before the combines head out in just a matter of weeks.

In making the most of this ‘calm before the storm’ I thought I would use this week’s column as an opportunity give a few points as to where the consumer demand fits with varietal options for this coming autumn. All data is taken from the current HGCA recommended list for our region – full access to which is available via our website.


For Group 1 varieties, bread based consumer demand is centred on Solstice, Gallant and Crusoe. All produce similar yields and good bushel weights but Crusoe tends to have a slightly higher protein content. For those of you looking for early maturity, Gallant would be an ideal option.

Cordiale was by far the most widely chosen group 2 variety this season by both end-users and farm-sellers. Its consistent early ripening performance should ensure its popularity for this coming season.

For group 3 varieties, the newly recommended Croft is proving popular, particularly for its high yield and excellent resistance to blossom midge. For those of you looking for something a little more established, Invicta has maintained its good reputation this year within the baking and milling community.

Soft group 4 varieties Revelation and Leeds looked incredibly well at this year’s Cereals event and although they did make this year’s recommended list, quantities of commercial seed are extremely limited. Other popular varieties include Horatio and Cougar – the former boasts excellent grain quality whilst the latter offers resistance to Septoria Tritici.

Growers who opt for hard group 4 varieties are generally looking for one thing; a high yielder with bold grain. Both Santiago and Kielder offer not only the highest yields on the recommended list, but also a relatively flexible drilling window.


Malting growers should really be looking no further than SY Venture. Winter malting demand has become extremely limited over the last year and the majority of consumer interest is for this variety.

For feed growers, around 35% of the market this year was dominated by Cassia and judging by its performance this last year, it should maintain is popularity.


Hybrid growers should look towards PR46W21; the highest yield and highest oil content on the recommended list. For earlier maturity, Avatar would be a good option. Compass has also continued to prove popular, particularly for its anecdotal resistance to pigeon damage.

Currently popular amongst conventional growers are Camelot and Cabernet; both boast similar yield potential but Camelot is around a week earlier to mature with lower biomass.


Dalguise is an attractive option for conventional oat growers; an early maturing, husked variety with a good kernel content and bushel weight.

Naked Oats appear to be increasingly popular this time, presumably as they currently offer a £45/T premium over feed wheat. Fusion is a an attractive option due to its short, but very stiff straw and good bushel weights.


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