One of the most attractive and interesting stands at the Cereals event in the UK this year had to be RAGT’s display on the history of wheat.
While there might have been plenty of big machines on display and tyres to kick, for the hardcore tillage fans this was a must see at the event.
The company was celebrating its 100th anniversary and had a collection of historic wheat varieties on display. RAGT started out as a regional co-operative in the south of France and is now one of the leading plant breeders in Europe.
At present, farmers here in Ireland will be very familiar with one of the company’s spring barley varieties – RGT Planet.
On the stand RAGT had wheat varieties dating back to 1842 – Red Fife. Visitors to the stand were able to see how varieties had evolved over the years from those with a tall, leafy stem to the neat and tidy varieties that we are used to looking at today.
The oldest variety on the stand was Red Fife. It was bred in 1842 in Ontario, Canada. Its name came from the colour of the wheat grain and the name of the farmers where it was first grown. Red Fife was a red wheat grown on Fife’s farm in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada.
Some other famous varieties on the list included: Squareheads Master; Yeoman; Capelle Desprez; Wigeon; and Maris Huntsman.
Away from the older varieties the plots also contained some of the more recent reliables like JB Diego and Oakley, right up to some present day varieties in the UK such as RGT Skyfall and this year’s new RGT wheat variety – RGT Saki.