UK: Huge potential in new winter barley varieties
Recent additions to the winter barley list provide growers with plenty of choice this autumn. Competition for market share is fierce as many varieties demonstrate improvements in grain yield and quality, the Scottish Farmer reported on August 4.
Growers should take advantage of the new varieties by considering a combination of agronomic features such specific weight, straw stiffness and maturity, as well as variety performance on different soil types.
The best two-row feed varieties are now achieving yields close to the six-row hybrids, and their grain quality tends to be good with some excellent specific weights and low levels of screenings.
Six-row hybrids have very high yield potential but note that taller varieties with moderate or weak straw strength will need stiffening under high lodging situations. Hybrids have very good specific weight though varieties differ in their level of screenings.
Improving disease resistance remains a major challenge for plant breeders. The average yield loss in crops grown without fungicide is 20 per cent, but some varieties lose much less. Therefore, look at the value in untreated yield when refining variety choices.
Varieties in their first or second year show huge promise and there are several strong candidates to follow. Barley choices with most value to Scottish and North region growers are highlighted below.
Two-row feed choices
Bolton is in its second year on the recommended list. It is high yielding across all soil types with a good specific weight and is below average for screenings. Untreated yield is average and it has good straw stiffness and intermediate maturity.
Bordeaux is in year two on the list. It is high yielding with very good specific weight and very low screenings. This relatively stiff-strawed variety has performed well in the North region and across different soil types. It is very susceptible to rhynchosporium and weak against net blotch which is reflected in its lower untreated yield.
California is an established West region recommendation and valued for its tall stiffish straw. It has early maturity and moderate specific weight. Disease resistance is intermediate. It is well suited to heavier textured soils. Its North region yield is now outclassed by newer varieties.
KWS Cassia is the longest standing variety on the AHDB list. Although outclassed for treated yield it is still valued for an outstanding specific weight. It is weak against mildew, Rhynchosporium and net blotch, and has a relatively low untreated yield.
KWS Orwell is a long established two-row feed variety that suits both heavy and light textured soils, though its yield has become outclassed compared to newer entries. It has low untreated yield and intermediate specific weight. It is very weak against mildew and is also susceptible to rhyncho.
KWS Tardis is a second-year variety and is ranked top for treated yield, though some yield variation is evident in provisional data from harvest 2022. It has performed well across all regions and soil types, with high yield potential on heavier textured soils. It has a high specific weight. It has very stiff straw and high resistance to rhyncho.
LG Dazzle is a new high yielding two-row feed variety with a very good untreated yield. It has produced its best yields in the East region, but North region yields are also competitive. It has high yield potential on heavier textured soils. Specific weight and screenings are intermediate. Straw strength is average. It has high resistance to rhyncho, but limited data suggest it is very susceptible to net blotch.
LG Mountain is the leading two-row feed variety. This early maturing variety is high yielding with a very good specific weight and suits all soil types. Its moderate straw strength requires careful management and weak-ish disease resistance is reflected in a mediocre untreated yield.
Lightning is a new high yielding two-row feed variety with intermediate specific weight. It has performed well across all regions. High resistance to mildew and brown rust and has given high yields in UK untreated trials. Moderate straw strength requires careful management.
Valerie is an established two-row feed variety with moderate yield, but very good grain quality and agronomic features. It has a high specific weight and very low screenings. It is early maturing and has stiff straw, with a good untreated yield.
Six-row feed varieties
Bazooka is the longest standing hybrid on the Scottish list. It has high yield potential and average untreated yield. It has a good specific weight and relatively low screenings. Its tall medium strength straw can lodge under high pressure situations. Disease resistance is intermediate with main weaknesses being mildew and net blotch.
Funky remains the only conventional six-row variety with a UK recommendation. It has intermediate treated yield, but good untreated yield. It has short stiff straw and is early maturing. Specific weight is good, but screenings are higher than average.
KWS Feeris is a new conventional six-row feed variety with a specific recommendation for tolerance to barley yellow dwarf virus. It has a good specific weight and very low screenings. Its highest yield potential is in the West region but it may underperform in the North region. It has stiff straw and untreated yield is average with high susceptibility to mildew.
SY Canyon is a new six-row hybrid with a very competitive yield and good untreated yield combined with an excellent specific weight. It is relatively early maturing and has performed well across all regions and soil types. It has high resistance to mildew. As a tall and high yielding variety its straw strength requires careful management.
SY Kingsbarn is a very high yielding six-row hybrid feed variety with a high specific weight and low screenings. This variety has given very high yields throughout the UK and has a high yield potential on lighter textured soils. It has moderate straw strength but responds well to growth regulators.
SY Kingston is very high yielding six-row hybrid feed variety with a high specific weight. This relatively early maturing variety has also produced high untreated yields, with no major weaknesses in disease resistance. It performs well on lighter textured soils. It is a tall variety with relatively weak straw that requires careful management.
SY Thunderbolt is a very high yielding six-row feed hybrid feed variety with a high specific weight. This tall and relatively early maturing variety has given very high treated yields throughout the UK and on heavier textures soils. Its relatively weak straw needs stiffening under high lodging situations. It has high resistance to mildew, and intermediate resistance to other diseases.
Winter barley for malting
The Scottish market for winter malting varieties remains relatively small at about 14% of the total UK intake. The main malting choices are Craft and Electrum. Malting varieties have a significant yield penalty compared to most feed varieties. Therefore, check market interest before sowing.
Craft has MBC full approval for brewing. It had 32% of the Scottish 2021 malting intake. Before choosing, check if there is any market interest for 2022/23. Treated yield is low compared to feed varieties. Specific weight is very good. It has stiff straw, but low untreated yield that is reflected in its average disease resistance.
Electrum is fully approved by MBC for brewing and had just under 5% of the Scottish 2021 malting share. It has a high specific weight. It has given its best relative performance in the East region and on heavier textured soils. It is early-maturing variety and has average disease resistance.
Candidate varieties from harvest 2022
The following candidates will be considered for promotion to the recommended list in November. Each choice has agronomic features which should be of value to Scottish growers.
Bolivia is as two-row feed candidate with good treated and untreated yield, with excellent resistance to mildew and brown rust. Specific weight is intermediate. It is early maturing. Initial data indicate good straw stiffness and goodish resistance to brackling.
LG Campus is a two-row feed candidate with a competitive UK yield and good specific weight. Untreated yield is good. It has good resistance to rhyncho but is weak against mildew. Initial data indicate intermediate straw stiffness and good resistance to brackling.
LG Caravelle is a two-row feed candidate very high UK yield and excellent specific weight. Its agronomic features look very strong with good resistance to rhyncho, mildew and brown rust. It is a shorter variety and initial data indicate very good straw stiffness with good resistance to brackling.
SY Nephin is six-row hybrid candidate with very good treated and untreated yields. It also has high specific weight. It has very good resistance to rhyncho. Initial data indicate that straw strength is very similar to other hybrids.
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