28 November 1997

SPRING CEREALS

A POTENTIALLY more reliable malting barley for the north and two strong oat challengers make up the trio of names joining the 1998 UK Recommended Lists for spring cereals.

Chalice, from New Farm Crops, offers barley growers what David Cranstoun of the SAC calls the comfort of a fourth leg to back the triple needs of yield, cost of growing and added value.

"The fourth leg is reliability," he maintains. Maturity, ear retention and straw strength all have a big effect on growers ability to harvest crops. "It is no good growing a crop unless you can safely get it in the bin."

Yield rated 103 and provisionally recommended for the north east, Chalice competes successfully with Chariot on 98, says Dr Cranstoun. Its resistance ratings for brown rust and rhynchosporium are each two points ahead, so should help keep growing costs down. Ear retention is up with the best.

With 67% of the UKs spring malting barley grown in Scotland, early ripening is important, he adds. Chalices 6 rating for earliness compares favourably with the 4 for Optic, a variety which has taken off in the south but made little impact north of the border.

Another element in reliability is whether the grain will be fit to malt, bringing in features such as skinning and splitting, which may be linked, says Dr Cranstoun. Indications are that Chalice is on a par with Prisma for splitting and certainly less prone to skinning than Optic.

"I believe it gives us improved reliability and as such is a sound addition to the Recommended List."

Other challengers for a place, Extract, Ferment and Livet, failed through lack of yield or end user support. The latter would have required distillers to modify their process, an exercise they were not prepared to do, explains Dr Cranstoun.

The two oat newcomers, Banquo from Semundo and Sailor from Perryfield Seeds, offer good yields both treated and untreated. Untreated output is particularly important in oats, which tend to receive fewer inputs than other cereals, notes Ethel White of the Department of Agriculture for Northern Ireland.

Agronomically Banquo benefits from reasonable standing power and Sailor is early. Both have mildew resistance as good as any. But Sailors combination of reasonable mildew defence and excellent crown rust resistance is a first in any oat variety. "It is quite an exciting development."

The new varieties quality ratings are not particularly outstanding, although Banquos low screenings could prove useful, suggests Dr White.

NEW SPRING CEREALS

Barley

Chalice – more reliable northern

malter.

Oats

Banquo – high yield, low

screenings.

Sailor – best mildew/crown rust

defence.

Northern spring malting barley growers looking for reliability get a useful looking addition in Chalice, says the SACs David Cranstoun (inset).

Oat growers can pick from a trio of three newly listed varieties.