7 August 1998

Bleak for barley and rape

By Andrew Blake

INITIAL results from NIAB/ HGCA VarPlan trials show yields of both winter barley and oilseed rape are well down on average.

Output from seven fungicide-treated barley trials in Cornwall, Hants, Kent, Norfolk, Shropshire, Staffs and Lincs is 6.08-7.46t/ha (2.46-3.02t/acre) with a mean of just over 7t/ha (2.8t/acre) – nearly 1t/ha (8cwt/acre) under the five-year average.

NIAB says there seems to be no clear pattern in variety performance. But six-row Manitou, regionally recommended for the north-west and north-east regions, shows up well at 6% over its long term mean.

Other varieties doing better than usual include outclassed Pipkin and Gaelic, up 4 and 3% respectively. Six-row Muscat is also up 3% – contrary to grower experiences (see p 65) as is candidate variety Angela.

Of those yielding less well, worst is Rifle down 4%. Performing only marginally less badly are Intro, Gleam, Vertige, Melanie and outclassed Angora, all 3% down.

Atrocious Easter weather and a generally overcast and wet pod-filling period are blamed for taking the edge off what looked to be a record winter rape crop. Mean treated yield from seven southern trials is 3.8t/ha (1.53t/acre) – 0.61t/ha (4.9cwt/acre) down on the four-year average.

Widespread alternaria and especially stem canker causing early senescence trimmed output in untreated trials even harder, average yield being 0.87t/ha (7cwt/acre) below the long term mean.

But with highest yields often achieved in the north, the picture could improve, NIAB suggests.

In treated trials Contact shows the best increase on its average, being 5% up. Closely behind are Apex and Meteor (4% up), followed by Commanche and restored hybrid Panther, not recommended last autumn, both 3% up.

The result suggests Panther, which along with Apex, Contact, Capitol, Madrigal and Synergy sown at a high seed rate, did at least 5% better than average untreated, could pose a challenge to stablemate Pronto this season, says NIAB. But it is worth noting that conventional variety Mad-rigal is challenging the hybrids in untreated trials, it adds. &#42

Winter barley

Variety Current 4yr Interim mean

mean 95-98 yield for 98

(159 trials) (7 trials)

Ctrl yield* 8.03t/ha 7.02t/ha

Recommended varieties

Fanfare 102 104

Hanna 101 100

Intro 100 97

Pastoral 101 103

Regina 104 104

Gleam 99 96

Epic 96 94

Melanie 97 94

Halcyon 93 92

Muscat 108 111

Manitou 105 111

Vertige 104 101

Rifle 100 96

Jewel 102 103

Gaelic 100 103

Fighter 98 96

Linnet 99 100

Angora 98 95

Puffin 94 96

Pipkin 94 98

Candidate varieties

Angela 109 112

Flute 101 98

Heligan103 100

Pearl 104 106

Other varieties

Baton 100 98

Peridot 102 102

Spirit 101 104

* Fungicide treated trials

Oilseed rape

Variety Current 4yr Interim mean

mean 95-98 yield for 98

(103 trials) (7 trials)

Ctrl yield* 4.41t/ha 3.8t/ha

Recommended varieties

Alpine 97 97

Apex 96 100

Commanche 94 97

Capitol 99 101

Gazelle 96 95

Boston 99 99

Contact 99 104

Herald 99 98

Licrown 100 101

Lipton 99 96

Madrigal 103 103

Lightning 98 100

Meteor 100 104

Amber 95 97

Express 93 88

Falcon 95 92

Hybrid varieties

Synergy

(120sds/sq m) 105 105

(70 sds/sq m) 103 102

Artus 105 103

Pronto 107 108

Additional varieties

Arietta 96 91

Jazz 96 98

Lizard 94 94

Evora 103 101

Panther105 108

* Fungicide treated trials.