Independent UK cereal breeder Angus Wheat Consultants (AWC), headed by wheat breeder Bill Angus, has launched a new website to highlight the range of its breeding programmes, as well as the company’s background and objectives. The breeding programmes are currently focused on winter and spring wheat and oats.

“We felt that it was important for wheat breeding to have a strong UK-owned breeder in the marketplace, and we could see gaps in wheat variety development we could fill,” says Mr Angus. “A core objective is to increase wheat yields on-farm while maintaining quality and optimising inputs. Cereals are at the heart of our breeding programmes with winter wheats Mv Fredericia and Garibaldi the first two varieties launched under our F1 Seeds banner.

“Mv Fredericia exemplifies part of our philosophy. We could see the variety playing a strategic role on farm with its competitive strength in black grass control. In addition, its quality profile made it an attractive variety for a major end user. Garibaldi had been very consistent in the challenging year of 2020, topping the NL2 trials until a late January trial was thrown into the trials evaluation mix, and although it did not make it as a candidate for the Recommended List, a number of growers and merchants across the country are looking at it compared to their own choices. And this is the real test of a variety: performance on farm.

“For the future, our winter wheat breeding programme is now mature with a comprehensive set of selection nurseries and trials at our main site in Suffolk, as well as in other key UK cereal growing regions.”

AWC’s new website also features the company’s Global Oats (UK) Ltd breeding programme which began when Mr Angus met a former colleague in the South Island of New Zealand. The colleague had decided to set up his own breeding programme called Global Oats (NZ) Ltd, and they agreed to collaborate and work on new oat varieties for both the southern and northern hemispheres.

Mr Angus notes that there is potential for oats in the UK when growers put good inputs into the crop. He believes that oats are seen by many as a low input crop, but he suggests that this is not the case; oats are a crop that responds to good agronomy, and with a targeted input strategy, yield and quality can be realised. Mr Angus’s oat breeding programme is well under way and has varieties currently in the National List system as the company is entering higher yielding and better quality varieties.

Looking to the future, Mr Angus says that whilst there are uncertainties over Brexit and future markets, the UK breeding community will rise to the challenge and bring in a range of genetics to meet both growers’ and end users’ needs. “As an independent British owned company we have grown quickly and have built the facilities you would expect from a leading-edge breeder. For the future, we will continue to invest and develop a strong British brand,” concludes Mr Angus.