8 March 1996

Cereals unscathed after harsh winter

WINTER cereals have withstood recent harsh weather reassuringly well, according to the National Institute of Agricultural Botany.

The first really severe winter since 1982 has provided useful information, says Richard Fenwick, NIABs head of combinable crops.

"As expected, Cadenza wheat suffered a bit more than others – probably because its a spring type. Beyond that there is a range of symptoms with leaf tipping to very little damage at all."

Of the winter barleys it is "no great surprise" that Gaelic has been most affected. "But Ive heard no reports of any crop losses." Maltsters Halcyon and Sprite have also suffered, but Pipkin was relatively unscathed.

Six-row Manitou has also "been hit" confirming earlier findings. "But were only talking about leaf death, not plant death."

The cold weather has however been "sorting out" winter oat varieties. Some naked oats seem especially vulnerable. "With Krypton and Harpoon weve been getting down to plant losses, though only single plants here and there." &#42