22 December 1995

Oat deferral shock

WELSH plant breeder Dr John Valentine is "bemused" that a new high yielding naked winter oat from the Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research failed to make the 1996 recommended list.

A decision on adding Krypton to the list has been deferred because of the need for more information on yield, he says. This is despite Krypton yielding 19% more than the fully recommended naked variety Kynon in untreated trials and 13% more when given fungicide.

The problem appears to be the limited number of fungicide-treated trials carried out, he says. Although there were 12 last season, there was only one in 1994. "They wanted more yield data."

Dr Valentine finds this "surprising" because commercial oats get little fungicide compared with winter wheat anyway. In 1990 70% of oats were sprayed just once for mildew. By contrast 96% of winter wheats were treated, some as many as four times in the season, he notes.

With provisional ratings of 7 and 6 against mildew and crown rust Krypton is also significantly more disease resistant than Kynon, he adds. "According to NIAB that means prophylactic sprays should be unnecessary."

&#8226 NIABs Richard Fenwick agrees oats tend to get less fungicide than other cereals, but stresses the need for more treated data on Krypton. The variety is also quite tall, he notes.

"Uniformity" was the sole reason for changing the list presentation.

Dr Valentine says the IGER is still unsure whether to appeal against the exclusion decision.