Initial harvest results from seven HGCA Recommended List trials sites suggest winter barley yields are just 10% lower than last year.
“Given the doom and gloom this season the results are promising,” says RL manager Simon Oxley.
Just one of the sites in Welbourn, Lincolnshire suffered significant losses due to drought stress which is bringing the average down, he says.
“This site was very stressed and it died back early. If these results are removed, the average is about the same as last year.”
Yield readings from the 13 remaining sites are yet to come in and these should dilute the effect of the Lincolnshire readings, he says.
So far, six-row hybrid Volume has performed particularly well, averaging 117% of the control and excelling on the drought-stressed site returning 123%.
Candidate six-row SY-Bamboo from Syngenta has failed to match Volume’s average with a 110% mean, but it topped the established variety’s performance on the Lincolnshire site returning 125% of the control.
“Bamboo has Volume to beat, but currently it is not quite there on yield, averaging about 0.5t/ha less so far,” says Dr Oxley.
In the non-hybrid six-row camp, candidate variety Meridian from KWS is performing particularly well, lagging just 1% behind Volume at 116%, says Dr Oxley.
“It has performed well in most areas, however, it didn’t do that well on the Lincolnshire site and returned its lowest yield of 110%.”
Control variety Sequel is also 5% up on its five-year average at 105% and Element is better than last year, but still down on its average at 107%, says Dr Oxley.
“Six rows appear to be having a good year so far, but we don’t yet know the specific weights.”
High-yielding two-row varieties are also holding up well, with Retriever returning a healthy 112% average over three sites, one of which is Welbourn.
This is putting pressure on two-row candidates Canyon, Matros and Sinatra, which are lagging significantly, says Dr Oxley.
“The candidate two-rows are doing OK, but they need to get up to Retriever levels to be successful.”
Malting candidates SY Venture and Archer are stacking up well against established favourite Cassata, returning 105% and 102% respectively, but their success will ultimately depend on malting approval, he says.
Cassata has, so far, slipped 3% behind its five-year average dropping to 95%, while Winsome and Purdey are beating their five-year average at 100% and 101% respectively.
Download the winter Recommended List ome-year results.