Consistent barley yields despite the season’s challenges
Winter barley growers in wetter parts of the country have the new options of two-row feed varieties, KWS Tardis and Bolton from Elsoms Seeds, which both achieved a UK-wide yield of 106% and 107% in the East plus good resistance to lodging.
KWS Tardis’ 7 for rhynchosporium is likely to be attractive for growers in wetter areas, Dr Paul Gosling says, as well as its high specific weight at 69.1kg/hl and relatively early ripening at 0.
As one of the first varieties to come through the Elsoms Ackermann breeding programme, Bolton offers a specific weight of 68.6, as well as a step up in mildew ratings compared to KWS Tardis, with a 6.
Independent agronomist David Coppack, of Wheatlands Agronomy, trialled 33 hectares of Bolton in 2019/20 and says despite the challenging conditions, the crop showed good vigour.
“On the 33ha of Bolton drilled on October 23 we were not able to get anything onto the crop until March 15 when we applied an initial dose of nitrogen, phosphate and potash.
Despite this, Bolton coped very well in the heavy, cold soil conditions and competed well.
We applied two plant growth regulators in midApril and early May to stop the crop necking, but overall there where very few other concerns.
“During the extremely dry spring and early summer that followed, we went ‘little and often’ with the nitrogen up to a total of 160kg/ha to get the crop through and were rewarded with a very clean crop with no lodging. Bolton yielded just under 9t/ha.”
Sharing similar attributes to the popular hybrid barley, SY Kingsbarn, the new variety SY Thunderbolt could be a good solution particularly for growers on heavier ground, says Syngenta seeds technical manager, Paul Roche.
“Where SY Thunderbolt could be of particular interest is on heavy soil, where trials indicate it has the highest yield figure available on the winter barley RL at 111% of control varieties.
Good performance on heavy soils has become increasingly relevant over recent years as many farmers returning to winter barley are now growing the crop on heavier land.
“At the end of the season, SY Thunderbolt is also early maturing – one of only four varieties on the winter barley RL with a -1 score – which is earlier than two-row feed varieties on the list,” Mr Roche says.
“Early maturity is especially useful to spread harvest workload and where growers want to get ground prepared and ready for following crops or to establish winter oilseed rape.
Alternatively, an early harvest allows longer windows for stale seedbeds against grass-weeds.” With a specific weight of 69.6kg/hl, SY Thunderbolt has a strong disease package of 8 for mildew, 7 for brown rust, 6 for rhynchosporium, plus an untreated yield of 88%.
For lighter or medium soils, SY Kingston has performed particularly well, says Mr Roche.
It was also the highest-yielding variety in 2020 on the new RL, which may indicate greater varietal resilience to tough conditions, he says.
“As more new hybrid barleys like these come on to the market, growers have an expanded choice to suit different growing situations – for example lighter land or heavier land, different regions and also where an early harvest is desirable.” For spring barleys, the new malting variety for brewing Skyway yields 3% above the highest yielding malting variety on last year’s list, SY Splendor.
Dr Gosling says: “It offers a nice move forward in yield, well ahead of Laureate and Planet.
It also has a higher specific weight at 68.7kg/hl.” It is in line with others on the list for lodging, ripening and mildew, but it has no brown rust rating due to a lack of disease data.
Hybrids take the lead for OSR
The five new varieties added to the oilseed rape Recommended List are all hybrids, which now make up 80% of varieties on the list.
Pod shatter resistance has also been added to the oilseed rape trait list for the first time.
Two new varieties have UK-wide recommendation – LG Aviron which has yields equal to the highest yielding variety on the list, Ambassador, at 108% and second highest in the North at 105%.
It is relatively early maturing at 6, with high resistance to stem canker and light leaf spot (both 7), as well as pod shatter resistance.
LG Aviron also offers the N-Flex trait unique to Limagrain’s oilseed rape varieties, as well as turnip yellows virus (TuYV) resistance.
Will Charlton, Limagrain’s oilseed rape product manager, says: “The N-Flex trait is a relatively new trait launched in our hybrids last year, offering a step forward in the way that oilseed rape varieties minimise yield loses in sub-optimal nitrogen conditions.” Specialist Clearfield variety DK Imprint CL was also given UK-wide recommendation and offers a clear improvement to other Clearfield varieties on the list in terms of disease ratings, while maintaining similar yields at 95%.
It has a stem canker rating of 8 and a light leaf spot rating of 6, as well as pod shatter resistance which other Clearfield varieties on the list do not offer.
The remaining additions, LG Antigua, DK Expectation and Respect were recommended for the East and West only.
With equal yields to LG Aviron, LG Antigua has a high stem canker rating of 7 and TuYV and pod shatter resistance.
Respect, from LS Plant Breeding, which yields 106%, features good stem stiffness and stem canker resistance, both at 8.
However, it is slightly later maturing than the other new additions, at 5.
DK Expectation’s high stem canker rating of 8 is likely to make it of interest to growers in the East.
AHDB says the lack of conventional varieties on the list could be a concern to growers who farm save seed and the committee will consider this in the coming year.