24 July 1998

EVICT WINTER BARLEY LODGERS

LODGING resistance will undoubtedly be high on the list of priorities for winter barley growers this autumn, according to NIABs Bill Handley.

Demonstration plots which succumbed to torrential rain in early June left visitors to Varieties and Seeds day at Cambridge little the wiser. But trials information gleaned before then and from sites elsewhere reinforces the differences in standing power between varieties, says Mr Handley.

In most cases lodging performance reflects the relative rankings as shown on the recommended list. Where it is not doing so has more to do with crop maturity at the time of the downpours than with inherent weakness, he maintains.

Another point to bear in mind when aiming at the malting market is the regional nature of Institute of Brewing approval. "Not all varieties are suitable for all regions."

Joint top rated for standing power are Regina and provisionally recommended Vertige. The former is fully IOB approved for malting throughout the UK. The latter is an out- and-out feed.

Next best against lodging are fully recommended Hanna, Pastoral, Melanie and barley yellow mosaic virus-resister Epic along with newcomer Jewel, also BaYMV resistant. All bar Melanie, which is fully IOB approved in the north, are feed-only types.

Feed variety Intro and BaYMV-resisting, southern malting type Gleam follow in terms of standing power. Provisionally recommended southern malter Rifle joins them.

The six-row feeds Manitou and BaYMV resister Muscat are slightly less lodging resistant still. Fanfare, fully IOB approved in the south, is even less so. "It may be less suited to more fertile sites," says Mr Handley.

Halcyon, always in demand by maltsters, is especially liable to go flat without the aid of growth regulators.

Dual purpose Regina is particularly popular this season, notes Mr Handley. But it is prone to mildew and especially yellow rust. The latter disease has not posed a problem for many years, but more widespread use of susceptible types could change that, he warns. "Growers of Regina and other susceptible varieties such as Melanie and Angora should inspect their crops regularly next spring for the disease and be prepared to apply fungicides as appropriate."

Rhynchosporium has been particularly troublesome this season. Varieties with the best defence are the six-row types and the two-rows Fanfare, Hanna, Melanie, and Jewel. Weakest are Intro, Epic and Vertige.

Livestock growers looking for long-strawed varieties are most likely to wish to consider the six-rows and Intro, he suggests.

Potential malting quality is no guarantee of market, he adds. "Just because a variety has malting quality doesnt mean it will be bought by maltsters. If you are growing specifically for malting you must talk to the maltsters." With the swing away in demand for low nitrogen samples to those in the 1.65-1.8% bracket, buyers have potentially more to choose from, he explains.

Half a dozen varieties, including weak-strawed southern specialist malter Pipkin, have slipped into the outclassed category, he notes. &#42

WINTER BARLEY

&#8226 Lodging resistance vital.

&#8226 Most NIAB lodging ratings confirmed this season.

&#8226 Regina and Vertige best for standing.

&#8226 Barley yellow rust worth bearing in mind.