There are currently14 Recommended Lists winter barley trial results for 2015, from the south west ofEngland up to Scotland. Average yields of the control varieties now stand at10.72 t/ha, 1.3 t/ha above the five-year average. This average comprises threelow yielding years in 2011, 2012 and 2013 and two higher yielding years in 2014and 2015. This year there is notable variation between sites, where the averageyield spans from 8.79 t/ha at the Dunmow site in Essex, up to 12.05 t/ha inHerefordshire. The two trials in Scotland yielded 11.64 t/ha in Midlothian and11.67 t/ha in the Borders, a favourable performance compared to the 2015average and to the trials in England.
Both hybrid andconventional six-row varieties continue to perform well on yield in 2015. Thehybrid Volume tops the table of varieties on the Recommended List at 107% ofthe control varieties, followed by the conventional six-row varieties KWSMeridian at 103% and Daxor 103%. Looking at the candidate six-row varieties,the hybrids Bazooka (110%) and Belfry (107%) have put in some impressive yields,while the six-row conventional candidate variety Verity stands at 103%. Limitedinformation on specific weights shows a gap between the hybrids, which areachieving specific weights around 70kg/hl, compared to the conventional six-rowvarieties at around 67 kg/hl. Although six-row varieties typically yield morethan two-row varieties, they may also have performed better during the dry spellof weather in September 2014.
Two-row feedvarieties with the highest 2015 yields include KWS Glacier (101%,) KWS Tower (101%)and KWS Infinity (100%). Two-row feed candidate varieties include Kathmandu (101%)and KWS Orwell (101%). Retriever is also having a good year at 102%, performingparticularly well in the Scottish Borders and Yorkshire.
Brewingvarieties are selected on end-user requirement rather than outright yield. Thenewer fully-approved newer varieties Talisman and SY Venture achieved 96% and94% respectively in the 2015 harvest comparing favourably with the establishedbrewing varieties Cassata (90%) and Pearl (88%).
Five-yearaverage cautions variety choice
When selectingvarieties for next season, the five-year average values give a betterrepresentation of performance in different seasons. Two-row feed varietieswhich have been consistently good performers include KWS Infinity (102%), KWSGlacier (101%) and KWS Tower (101%).