Set to celebrate 10 years at Groundswell this year, the Nelson German elite wheat, or E-wheat, is said to offer high protein levels with lower nitrogen inputs consistently and is a popular choice for millers because of its bread making quality.
The increased protein accumulation is due to a Grain Protein Content GPC-B1 gene, which has the potential to increase nutritional and end-use quality. Zinc, iron and seed pigments are also reportedly increased.
Nelson can earn a premium over other Group 1s with its quality and Hagberg falling number. It also has a wide drilling window for farmers, early harvest, tall and stiff straw, bold grain, and high untreated yields.
George Mason from flour millers Heygates is sourcing more Nelson from British farmers “Based on a 14% protein level, Nelson brings us the quality and functionality that is displacing imported wheat, and as such, we are looking to contract increased volumes going forward. In these difficult times of high fertilizer prices, we can also accept Nelson on a 13% protein basis albeit at a Group 1 value.
“We have a policy to support British grain over imported and support UK farming wherever possible,” he said. “Nelson has been consistently popular with farmers, and it’s a highly efficient variety. The fact that our farmers continue to grow it is a testament to its agronomic and bread making benefits.”
The UK agent for Nelson, Cope Seeds and Grain, is also offering a buy-back contract to farmers.
“Nelson has consistently delivered since being launched to the UK market 10 years ago, and with the rising input costs really starting to pinch, it’s an even more attractive variety, because it can hit the protein levels required by millers like Heygates, with less nitrogen applied,” explained managing director, Gemma Clarke. “Agrii trial results from 2019 show that it achieved over 14% protein at 201kg nitrogen offtake.”
Reading-based arable farmers David and son Nick Philp have grown Nelson for six years on contract to Heygates.
Nick said: “We applied 250kg of nitrogen last year and reached 14 – 15% protein. This nitrogen application rate is on par with other conventional varieties on the farm, but they struggled to achieve 13% protein, so it is highly efficient, and this year we can get away with cutting back a bit to achieve the Heygates specification.
“Nelson also has a fantastic disease profile, it’s very clean, and is a tall wheat which doesn’t lodge,” he added.
Oxfordshire-based agronomist Geoffrey Hawes who has 50 years of agronomy experience in the Thames valley, works with David and Nick Philp and says Nelson has proven to be a consistent variety since it was launched to the market 10 years ago.
“I can’t think of another variety that’s as consistent and as low input as Nelson. It produces one of the boldest grains, and has a high HFN and protein content and very low screening losses making it more likely to achieve full milling specification.
“It’s a clean variety, in fact, it has the cleanest ear relative to ear disease complex I’ve come across, it also has good tolerance to yellow rust and many of my farmers have grown it for numerous years.
“It’s suited to a wide range of soil types including drought-prone land or soils with limited yield potential. My longest-term Nelson grower of 10 years direct drilled his crop last year and saw 100% establishment.
“It’s ideal for milling wheat growers looking for a solid variety with a full Group 1 premium buy-back contract with Cope Seeds and Grain,” concluded Geoff.