SCOTTISH TRIALS HIT
POOR grain set played havoc with results from recommended list trials in Aberdeen and Kelso this season.
Blind sites were noted on many varieties, but Equinox, Reaper, Caxton and Hereward seem to have been most badly hit. With Equinox in particular, yields are just over half of those from other regions.
"Its a mystery why this happened, but weather must have played an important part," says NIABs John Ramsbottom. Late frosts were recorded in the region. "Its not unusual to see blind grain sites, but generally not on such a scale as to affect yields significantly."
NIAB debated long and hard, whether to include these results in the recommended list database. "After industry consultation, it was decided to include the data, because it appears to be the result of a genotype/environment interaction, so there is a varietal link," says Mr Ramsbottom.
The distorting effect of the Scottish results is diluted by the large data matrix upon which the recommended list scores are based. However, it does affect yield scores slightly. For example, Equinoxs treated yield rating of 103 rises to 104, if the Aberdeen results are excluded.
As a precaution, the Aberdeen and Kelso results are included in a separate chart within the new 1998 UK recommended list. "We cant say whether this might happen again," says Mr Ramsbottom. "In no way do we want to over-emphasise the importance of this data, but feel it should be brought to growers attention."