28 November 1997

WINTER BARLEY

FEED barleys are the only additions to the 1998 recommended list of winter barleys, and stalwart malter Pipkin is among six varieties moved into the outclassed category.

The newcomers are a short, stiff-strawed variety and one with resistance to barley yellow mosaic virus (BYMV). Neither has malting quality.

In recent years the trend has been for breeders to combine good yield with malting potential. But there remains room for new high yielding out and out feed types, maintains NIABs Richard Fenwick. "Do not forget there is still a huge market for feed barley both on farm and traded. It is not all malting."

With a relative yield of 104 Vertige from CPB Twyford outperforms all other recommended two-rows bar one, he notes. Treated, it is two points up on Hanna and only one behind malter Regina. Untreated it beats both.

Its straw strength makes its ideal for the grower who wants to produce high yields of feed grain, says Mr Fenwick. "You can load the inputs on to this variety and it will not lodge."

Vertige has no basic disease weaknesses, though mildew and rhynchosporium need watching, he says. "It has good specific weight and a nice large bold grain."

Jewel is specially recommended for its resistance to BYMV. Gleam, Epic and the six-row Muscat are the only other recommended types, out of 20, with this attribute.

Jewel outyields Gleam by 2% both treated and untreated. "It is short, stiff and early and has excellent all-round disease resistance."

For the many farms afflicted by BYMV it is seen as a useful addition to the Recommended List.

"Incidentally, I am sure many growers in the UK have got BYMV in their land and do not realise it. They see these yellow patches in the spring. They put some nitrogen on, which boosts the crop. They think they have cured the problem, but the damage has been done and the virus has sapped the yield. Our message is If you see yellow patches in the crop get it checked."

Although often regarded as a Cotswolds disease, BYMV has been found as far afield as Aberdeen, notes the SACs David Cranstoun.

Baton, another feed variety in which BYMV-resistance was picked up during trials, was considered for the list. But a decision to include it has been deferred for more information.

Peridots low yield did not merit its addition. Sprite, a potential malter, failed to get on for the same reason.

Among other changes, six-row Muscat becomes fully recommended as the highest yielder on the list. Manitou, generally outperformed by Muscat in the south, stays on with a regional recommendation for the north.

Malters Gleam and Regina both gain full recommendation, albeit in the "special" category, Gleam for its BYMV resistance and Regina where yellow rust is not a problem.

After more than a decade on the list malting variety Pipkin joins five others becoming outclassed.