28 August 1998

Yields well down for winter barley

WINTER barley yields across the UK are almost 1.25t/ha (0.5t/acre) down on the five-year average, with poor quality to boot.

That is the official conclusion from HGCA-funded variety trials on 22 sites throughout the UK. Average yield in the NIAB co-ordinated trials using best practise husbandry was just 6.72t/ha (2.7t/acre).

Regina and Jewel topped the two-row league at 107% of control, with Fanfare and Vertige hot on their heels at 105%, latest VarPlan results show.

Quality has suffered significantly too. Thousand grain weight is down 4g and specific weight 2kg/hl to average 68kg/hl. Grain nitrogens are very variable, ranging from 1.3% to over 2%, but averaging an acceptable 1.5-1.8%.

Heavy winter rainfall caused poor rooting, which resulted in widespread lodging when rain and high winds hit in April, says NIAB. Poor grain size and specific weight stem from limited sunshine during ripening, it adds.

Severe lodging pressure has confirmed the accuracy of standing power ratings, notes NIABs Adrian Pickett. Hannas brown rust resistance rating is down from seven to five.