Barrel and Jackal: still the two best soft wheats for the north


Scotland’s growers will be familiar with the winter wheat varieties KWS Barrel and KWS Jackal. As the two highest-yielding soft wheats for the north (based on complete data) growers were quick to spot their suitability to the region.

The good news for growers is that two varieties they have come to know well – KWS Barrel was added to the Recommended List in 2016 while KWS Jackal was listed in 2018 – are still the soft wheats best-suited to the country. KWS Barrel has been the most popular variety in Scotland for several years while KWS Jackal is among the top three, so are well-known across the supply chain from growers to agronomists to merchants and to end-users.

What is it that makes these wheats so well-suited to Scotland?

First, its solid market demand. As soft wheats, these fit well with the range of end-users – from animal feed mills and distilleries – across the country.

Second, high yields and a combination of good agronomic characteristics. Jackal combines its barn-filling performance with strong all-round disease resistance, a wide drilling window and reassuringly high yields across soil types and rotational positions.

It’s a reasonably fast developing variety that at 85cm is of short-to-medium height while its stiff straw will reassure those wanting to push it for yield and has one of the lowest lodging scores of any variety on the Recommended List.

As both a first and second cereal with yields of 102% and 103% of controls respectively it does better than alternatives in this group. KWS Jackal repeats this performance on heavy and light soil types too with yields of 102% and 103% respectively.

Agronomically it is a straight-forward management proposition with no obvious weaknesses. Its Septoria tritici resistance is average at 4.9 and better than others in this group. A score of 7 for mildew resistance is above average, while its yellow rust resistance score of 9 is exceptional. It carries orange wheat blossom midge (OWBM) resistance.

Its Group 3 counterpart, KWS Barrel is the joint-highest yielding variety for the north and the highest-yielding soft wheat for the region. Its management needs are much the same as its with KWS Jackal though its Septoria score of 4.5 suggests it is a disease that will need watching. It too is OWBM resistant.

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