The Recommended List for winter barley will take two key steps to makesure it provides the best possible information to growers.
The first is a change to the nitrogen protocol in feed barley trials,the second is a common yield target for 2-rows, 6-rows and 6-row hybrids. Thesechanges are in response to yield gains in feed varieties and the development ofhybrid varieties over recent years.
The new nitrogen regime is a response to the advances made in barleybreeding. It will push yields all the way for feed varieties and give us a faircomparison between hybrids and conventionals, explains Peter Riley, Agronomiston the RL Barley and Oats Committee. The fertiliser levels reflect currentindustry standards so will be familiar to any grower who targets high yields.
Looking at the single yield target, until now, 2-row, 6-row and 6-rowhybrid varieties have been treated as distinct crops and had different yieldtargets. The reason for this was that 6-row hybrids were a new technology sothey were given the opportunity to show how they perform and stimulate interestamong growers and breeders a similar thing was done with hybrid oilseed rape.
Now that these varieties are an established part of the barleymarketplace, it seems appropriate to compare all varieties against the samebenchmark so they get to the list on merit, explains David Houghton, Chairmanof the RL Barley and Oats Committee.
While growers selecting winter barley varieties for feed will be lookingfor high yields, yield is not the only consideration in variety choice. The RLBarley and Oats Committee will take all relevant attributes into account,including quality, disease resistance and agronomic features in recommending arange of different variety types to provide diversity in cropping choices.
The Recommended List will continue to offer choice for winter barleyvarieties and we expect the changes to stimulate breeding programmes forconventional 2-row, 6-row and hybrid barleys alike, concludes Mr Houghton.