1 December 1995

One barley, one oat arrive for spring

THERE are only two new names among the 1996 recommended lists for spring cereals – Tankard barley and Piper oats.

Adding Chablis and Shiraz to the 1995 spring wheat list set "fairly high standards" which means no new varieties achieve recommendation this time round, says NIABs John Ramsbottom. Decisions on two of the four candidates, Imp and Palermo, have been deferred to obtain more data on quality. Among changes leaving a "reasonably compact list", Alexandria and Tonic are dropped.

Progress in spring barley is a series of leaps and shuffles, according to the SACs Dr David Cranstoun. After a "fantastic leap" with the introduction of Optic last year, Tankard is the only one of five contenders to get on to the 1996 list.

Tankard comes in with a provisional regional recommendation for the north-east where it gave an "excellent performance" last year. Its malting quality rating of "9.99 recurring is shifting the goal posts", he says.

"Like Chariot, its a bit rocky on rhynchosporium, but were accustomed to that with some malting barleys."

Piper is the only spring oat to join the list – provisionally recommended for the central, south-east and south-west regions. Its key feature, albeit on limited data, is an "exceptional" 9 top rating against crown rust, says DANIs Ethel White. It has Valiant-type yield. But low kernel content makes it primarily a variety for livestock feed.