Agronomist in Focus: Ron Granger

LG Beowulf – the highest yielding wheat on the 2024-25 AHDB Recommended List offering a complete agronomic package for securing high yield potential on-farm.

Ron Granger, arable technical manager for breeders Limagrain UK, shares his views on what the variety offers and where it fits on farm.

As breeders, when we make a cross between two varieties, we have in our heads what we want to accomplish with regards to the complimentary attributes both parent varieties offer – genetically and agronomically – in the progeny. LG Beowulf reflects this approach as a cross between two very successful commercial varieties (Costello x Gleam).

In the last couple of years, we have seen several very high yielding wheats added to the AHDB Recommended List but unfortunately although gaining commercial market share, they have not offered the all-round desirable agronomic package that many growers wish for in a perfect world.

LG Beowulf bucks the trend offering the highest UK treated yield potential sitting at   106.2% and one of the best agronomic packages available, combined with great flexibility within the rotation – it’s a fantastic package.

High yields are important for maximising profit, but more than this, a grower needs to know that these yields will be delivered season in and out; and this is exactly what LG Beowulf does –consistently producing high yields across regions and seasons.

The variety performs extremely well both as a first wheat and in the more testing second wheat situation and is suitable for all soil types. However, LG Beowulf should be grown on more moisture retentive soils to achieve maximum yield potential, as there are better variety ideotypes for the more testing, lighter, drought prone soil situations.

LG Beowulf offers a very good disease resistance profile, especially for the key disease challenges of yellow rust (9) and Septoria tritici (6.7).

The variety also delivers a very high untreated yield (91%)  a consequence of its superb disease resistance in combination with its straw strength. Although a slightly taller variety, LG Beowulf offers very good straw strength – combining a rating of 8 untreated, with an 8 rating with PGR treatments applied.

The inclusion of Orange Wheat Blossom Midge in the package is an important benefit, especially for growers in southern and the South East regions, where the pest can inflict economical damage to crops, depending on the season. It’s a genetic IPM offering that should not be underestimated.

Another important attribute of LG Beowulf is its flexibility in drilling date – it is a variety that can be drilled early and onwards through into the very late drilling slot, if the season dictates, giving growers a security and flexibility of drilling date, that not all varieties exhibit.

The variety does have a slightly later maturity, but as we have seen over the last few seasons, widening the harvest date is useful as an insurance against erratic weather patterns. Spread your risk on farm by having early maturing varieties alongside later maturing ones, providing a reassurance that at least part of the crop will have the desirable grain quality in a difficult season.

LG Beowulf has the benefit of a high specific weight combined with a high Hagberg. This is a great attribute to have in any feed wheat, and as we know, a high specific weight is one of the best characteristics to ensure high yield potential is maintained in erratic seasons of either drought or indeed wet harvest seasons, as seen in 2023.

There is no such thing as a perfect variety, however, LG Beowulf comes close. Offering a comprehensive agronomy package along with very high yield potential in the hard feed wheat sector; desirable characteristics both on-farm and for the market.