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RATEL – the reliable wheat cultivar for the Southern and Western Cape

June 2017

Ratel is the ARC-Small Grains’ most reliable cultivar for this region. According to data of the past four years, Ratel is among the top performers in the Southern and Western Cape. The cultivar was developed specifically for this area.

The cultivar was developed from a Kariega background for good baking quality. The cultivar is only resistant to stem rust. Farmers should also note that the cultivar is susceptible to powdery mildew, which can lead to a lower yield. Farmers must monitor their crops, especially when it is a wet year.

Agronomic information
Ratel has a medium growth period with an average height of 80 cm to 100 cm. The cultivar also has a good straw strength and is moderately tolerant to pre-harvest sprouting. The cultivar’s shatterproof tolerance is also good.

Although Ratel is a spring type with no cold requirement, farmers must keep in mind that this is a C3 plant, which is very ineffective with transpiration and respiration. Thus, a cooler after-season will lead to higher yields, as the kernels are filled better.

To achieve Ratel's full yield potential, the cultivar must be planted early enough. Although the cultivar can be planted up to the end of May with good yields, plantings before 10 May gives the cultivar a better chance to develop to its full yield potential. However, it should be noted that early planting is only possible if there is sufficient soil moisture available.

In Table 2 the agronomic and risk determining physiological information of Ratel is given. This is important information that the producer has to keep in mind when choosing a cultivar for his specific production area.

Available yield data of Ratel from the Elite trials of the ARC compared to yield standards for different areas.

Long-term data
During the four years Ratel’s average yield data in this area has shown that the cultivar can compete well with a yield rank of either first or second in terms of the yield standards included to select objectively for yield.

In the past season, Ratel competed well against the yield standards, which were included in the ARC Elite trials. In the Swartland (one locality) and Rûens (two localities), Ratel had the second highest yield, measured against the yield standards included in the trials.

Article submitted by by Rorisang Patose, André Malan and Ian Heyns from ARC-Small Grain, Bethlehem. For more information or advice please contact Dr R Patose at 058 307 3430 or Dr A Malan at 058 307 3446.

Publication: June 2017

Section: Pula/Imvula