8 August 1997

Barley and OSR variety trials confirm trends

By Charles Abel

FIRST results from winter barley and oilseed rape variety trials confirm the trends identified by farmers weekly harvest round-up reporters over recent weeks.

Winter barley yields are variable and generally worse than last year, with quality suffering too. Meanwhile oilseed rape is matching last years good results, but hybrid varieties are not performing as well as usual.

So far 7 NIAB winter barley trials have been harvested in Cambs, Cornwall, Glos, Hants, Lincs, Kent and Norfolk. Results are expressed as yield ratings relative to the average yield of the control varieties – Fanfare, Pastoral, Fighter, Halcyon and Manitou. They achieved 7.45t/ha (3t/acre), almost 0.5t/ha (4cwt/acre) down on the five-year average.

"Variety performance between sites is variable making it difficult to draw too many conclusions yet," says NIABs Bill Handley. "A clearer picture should emerge once more sites have bee harvested."

Indeed, the five-year mean figure, determined from 1993-96 results plus the new information from the trials harvested to date, provides a more balanced picture of variety performance, he notes.

Initial NIAB tests confirm suspicions that germination potential may be lower then normal. "This ties in with reports of pre-germination. If this problem is widespread it may have serious implications for those growers producing for the malting industry," says Mr Handley.

Varieties doing relatively better than usual this year are Fighter, Intro, Epic and Puffin – 4, 3, 3 and 3% better than usual respectively. But Regina, Hanna and Fanfare remain top 2-row yielders in the five-year mean results, with six other varieties all within the 4% significance cut off for yield (see table).

Winter oilseed rape

With only three fungicide treated trials and three untreated trials analysed so far, hybrid oilseed rape yields are clearly less outstanding than in the past two or three years, says NIAB oilseeds specialist Simon Kightley.

Hybrids Synergy, Artus and Pronto are 7, 10 and 6% lower yielding than their five-year means, falling behind Apex this year. But their four-year mean results remain more than 4% ahead of their nearest conventional rivals.

Mr Kightley believes their poor results are probably due to late frosts and drought up to and during early flowering. "We have had indications of this susceptibility before, particularly in 1995. But I think the picture will swing back to hybrids as results come in from other regions," he notes.

Conventional varieties are showing big differences in performance, Apex outstripping all comers with an 8% improvement on its four-year average.

Meanwhile, Lizard, Herald, Jazz and Licrown are each down 10, 8, 6 and 6%.

"Apex really has stood very well, whereas other varieties have shown a lot of lodging," says Mr Kightley.

As for winter barley, yields are expressed as a mean of the control varieties ) – Apex, Express, Falcon, Synergy and Nickel. Those averaged 4.31t/ha (35cwt/acre) – broadly the same as the four-year average. Differences of less than 4% should be treated with caution, stresses NIAB.

"The next two weeks will reveal a much fuller picture," says Mr Kightley.

This summers widespread lodging should focus interest on lodging and stem stiffness ratings, he adds. "New varieties, not severely tested during the past two or three years will be under the spotlight. Indications so far suggest that current ratings will not require major adjustment when the new seasons data are complete."

Wet weather and the damp micro climate within lodged crops could mean a major build-up of disease inoculum to attack autumn plantings, NIAB pathologists add. Stem canker resistance ratings will be worth considering, they say. &#42

OSRVarplan

VarietyCurrent 4yrInterim mean

mean 94-97yield for 97

(96 trials)(3 trials)

Control yield4.384.31

Recommended

Lipton104102

Meteor104101

Licrown10498

Herald10498

Contact103104

Lightning103104

Alpine100100

Gazelle100100

Capitol10099

Jazz10094

Cobra9997

Arietta9994

Lizard9989

Apex98106

Falcon9896

Amber9893

Bristol96105

Commanche96*

Express9596

Inca9595

Hybrid varieties

Pronto111105

Artus110100

Synergy109102

Additional varieties

Columbus103106

Kansas102102

Huron10198

Nickel99100

Corniche9795

*1997 Commanche seed was heat damaged and field emergence reduced.


OSRVarplan

VarietyCurrent 4yrInterim mean

mean 94-97yield for 97

(96 trials)(3 trials)

Control yield4.384.31

Recommended

Lipton104102

Meteor104101

Licrown10498

Herald10498

Contact103104

Lightning103104

Alpine100100

Gazelle100100

Capitol10099

Jazz10094

Cobra9997

Arietta9994

Lizard9989

Apex98106

Falcon9896

Amber9893

Bristol96105

Commanche96*

Express9596

Inca9595

Hybrid varieties

Pronto111105

Artus110100

Synergy109102

Additional varieties

Columbus103106

Kansas102102

Huron10198

Nickel99100

Corniche9795

*1997 Commanche seed was heat damaged and field emergence reduced.


Winter barley Varplan

VarietyCurrent 5-yrInterim mean

mean 93-97yield for 97

(152 trials)(7 trials)

Control yield7.997.45

NIAB recommended varieties

Muscat108107

Manitou105102

Regina104103

Fanfare102104

Hanna102102

Intro101104

Rifle101102

Gaelic101101

Pastoral101101

Gleam100100

Linnet10097

Sunrise99101

Fighter98102

Angora9896

Epic97100

Melanie9794

Puffin9497

Sprite94-

Pipkin9392

Halcyon9392

Candidate varieties

Vertige103102

Peridot102102

Jewel101103

Baton101102

Spirit10099

Other varieties

Spice100100