RL responds to changes in the winter barley market

The Recommended List for winter barley will take two key steps to make sure 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. These changes are in response to yield gains in feed varieties and the development of hybrid varieties over recent years.

“The new nitrogen regime is a response to the advances made in barley breeding. It will push yields all the way for feed varieties and give us a fair comparison between hybrids and conventionals,” explains Peter Riley, Agronomist on the RL Barley and Oats Committee. “The fertiliser levels reflect current industry 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-row hybrid varieties have been treated as distinct crops and had different yield targets. The reason for this was that 6-row hybrids were a new technology so they were given the opportunity to show how they perform and stimulate interest among growers and breeders – a similar thing was done with hybrid oilseed rape.

“Now that these varieties are an established part of the barley marketplace, it seems appropriate to compare all varieties against the same benchmark so they get to the list on merit,” explains David Houghton, Chairman of the RL Barley and Oats Committee.

While growers selecting winter barley varieties for feed will be looking for high yields, yield is not the only consideration in variety choice. The RL Barley and Oats Committee will take all relevant attributes into account, including quality, disease resistance and agronomic features in recommending a range of different variety types to provide diversity in cropping choices.

“The Recommended List will continue to offer choice for winter barley varieties and we expect the changes to stimulate breeding programmes for conventional 2-row, 6-row and hybrid barleys alike,” concludes Mr Houghton.

For more information about barley varieties and Recommended List protocol, go to hgca.com/varieties.

HGCA’s harvest results service will be starting soon, sign up at hgca.com/harvestresults to receive regular updates of yield results from Recommended List trials

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