KWS Cranium sets new benchmarks for UK Group 4 hard wheat

  • Best combination of yield, Yellow Rust and OWBM resistance on 2021/22 RL
  • Highest yield of all late drilled varieties on new RL
  • Outstanding stem stiffness and ‘real world’ performance

KWS Cranium sets some important new standards in the Group 4 hard wheat sector including the best yield and yellow rust combination of all listed wheat varieties on the 2021/22 AHDB Recommended List, says the company’s Will Compson.

Additional features such as Orange Wheat Blossom Midge (OWBM) resistance, the highest yield of all the RL late drilling varieties and the best combination of yield and straw stiffness on the list, underline its class-leading resilience in the face of current wheat production challenges, he says.

“Recommended for the whole of the UK, KWS Cranium ticks all the boxes for features of high or very high importance in modern wheat production.

“With the best combination of yield, Yellow Rust resistance and OWBM resistance on the 2021/22 RL, it’s a great example of our Sowing for Peak Performance (SPP) work to future-proof varieties as much as we can.

“KWS Cranium has a yield of 104% of control in the RL, an 8 for Yellow Rust resistance and gets twin 8s for lodging performance, both with and without PGRs, plus a 6 for Septoria resistance – an exceptional package for a top yielding hard feed type.

“It’s a mainstream sower but performs well in later drilling scenarios from mid October onwards.

“Over five years of AHDB trials, KWS Cranium has shown exceptional consistency of yield in both first and second wheat slots and on light and heavy land across the UK and performed especially well in the Eastern region where the threat from Yellow Rust and OWBM is the greatest.”

KWS Cranium has the best late-drilled performance in the 2021/22 RL producing a yield of 108% of controls
Will Compson, KWS UK Country Manager

Importantly, KWS Cranium adds seedling resistance to Yellow Rust to the hard Group 4 sector, he points out.

“Yellow rust can occur across the whole of the UK with potential yield losses of up to 50% often reported in untreated or susceptible wheat varieties.

“Avoiding high risk factors such as drilling susceptible varieties, sowing early and poor control of green bridges from previous crops are key, but the warmer, wetter winters we experience more of now are a largely unavoidable catalyst for the disease.

“Strong varietal resistance at both seedling and adult stage is, therefore, an increasingly important feature for growers to factor into their management and KWS Cranium’s robust Yellow Rust protection and high yield potential is a real breakthrough for Group 4 growers.”

With recent surveys suggesting nearly 70% of producers now plan to drill their wheat in the later slot, KWS Cranium’s speed of development is of huge benefit too, Will Compson adds.

“KWS Cranium has the best late-drilled performance in the 2021/22 RL producing a yield of 108% of controls compared to 106% for the next closest variety recommended for later drilling.

“In our own trials, KWS Cranium is one of the faster developing varieties being amongst the first to reach Growth Stage 32. In this way it achieves good ground cover allowing it to outcompete weeds more easily whilst creating a good plant stand.

“KWS Cranium’s reliable grain package, including a good HFN (277) and specific weight (75.3kg/hl), further adds to its overall appeal.”

I think KWS Cranium is going to appeal to a broad range of growers from both in-field performance and marketing perspectives.
Chris Piggott, Frontier Seed Manager

Trade view

According to Frontier seed manager Chris Piggott, with challenges around disease in the future and large domestic markets for feed wheat, the variety will appeal to growers looking to reduce production risks without sacrificing yield potential.

“KWS Cranium is yielding within 1% of the highest yielding variety on the Recommended List and is part of a select few varieties that combine a Septoria score of 6 and above and a yellow rust score of 8 and above.

“These two particular diseases are the most challenging in terms of yield penalty so to have high genetic resistance is an advantage. Late sown performance is particularly strong.

“Being a hard wheat, KWS Cranium offers a lower sprouting risk for a variety that is slightly later to maturity compared to the alternative soft wheats. To top everything off it also has good fusarium resistance and OWBM resistance.”

“High yielding feed wheat has been a significant portion of the market for some time, with a much reduced potential for not achieving spec. and many destinations local to a lot of growers, there is a great deal of marketing flexibility.

“I think KWS Cranium is going to appeal to a broad range of growers from both in-field performance and marketing perspectives.”