Blackstone: A versatile winter wheat variety for 2024

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  • 29 May 2024

Blackstone: A versatile winter wheat variety for 2024

When it comes to selecting soft winter wheat varieties, Blackstone is one to add to the shortlist. A new addition to the AHDB Recommended List for 2024/25, this Soft Group 4 variety combines high yields with robust disease resistance and excellent grain quality. 

In this blog, we dig into Blackstone's performance so far during what has been a rather challenging growing season. 

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Thriving in the north and beyond 

With a treated yield of 103%, Blackstone is one of the top three soft wheat performers for the north in this year's Recommended List, putting it ahead of market favourites such as LG Skyscraper.

It has an untreated yield of 87% which gives it a considerable advantage over its competitors. Part of the reason for this is its excellent combined mildew and yellow rust resistance scores, along with a very respectable 6.2 for Septoria.

Blackstone is also very stiff-strawed whilst retaining some height, which should make it a popular choice for mixed farmers.

Wide sowing window for flexibility

One of Blackstone's standout features is its wide sowing window. As the winter has proven, our climate is becoming less predictable and therefore retaining a flexible drilling window is key.

Blackstone has the growth habit to be able to be sown early, but we have been particularly interested in its strong late sown performance of 105%.

Although most northern growers will want to get wheat crops established in good time, autumn 2023 has demonstrated that this is not always possible and Blackstone, with its low vernalisation requirement, provides an option that can be sown right up until the end of February, while still maintaining a consistent performance.

This variety has also been shown to fit well into various rotation positions, excelling as a first and second cereal option. 

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Maximising returns on input

Agronomically, Blackstone is worthy of contention, but it also raises the bar for grain quality in the soft feed sector.

With a very good Hagberg of 299 and a well above average specific weight of 78.2kg/hl, it will certainly be useful in the rotation for anyone also growing lower specific weight varieties.

Once again, with our seasonal weather patterns changing, this will prove to be valuable on certain soil types. 

Considering growing Blackstone? 

At McCreath Simpson and Prentice, we believe that Blackstone is an excellent choice for growers seeking a feed or distilling wheat that combines high yield, disease resistance and quality grain, which is suited to our unpredictable northern climate. 

We are really pleased with how Blackstone has been performing throughout the growing season at our trials site in the Scottish Borders. If you would like to come and see for yourself, please join us at our annual Winter Wheat Trials Open Evening on June 17, 4pm-8pm. More details about the event can be found HERE

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