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Effects of sulphur on yield and malting quality of winter and spring barley

HGCA PROJECT REPORT 251

EFFECTS OF SULPHUR ON YIELD AND MALTING QUALITY OF WINTER AND SPRING BARLEY

by

F J ZHAO1, S P McGRATH1 and N DAVIES2

1Soil Science Dept., IACR-Rothamsted, Harpenden, Herts. AL5 2JQ
2Muntons plc, Cedar's Maltings, Stowmarket, Suffolk IP14 2AG

MAY 2001

Abstract

The aim of this project was to obtain preliminary information on the effect of S on grain yield of barley, and on the relationship between S and a suite of malting quality parameters. The spring barley variety Chariot was grown in a pot experiment that tested the effects of S additions to a S-deficient soil. The winter barley variety Regina was grown in a field experiment at Woburn in the 1999-2000 season.

Both pot and field experiments showed that grain yield of barley was reduced considerably by S deficiency. In the field experiment, grain yield was increased by 1.1 t ha-1 (34.9%) in response to S applications. Unusually in this experiment, Thiovit gave a better response than gypsum. Also in the field experiment, S applications significantly decrease grain N concentration from 1.95% to below 1.8%, probably due to a dilution effect as a result of increased crop growth.

Results of malting tests were not conclusive. In the pot experiment, two grain samples with high S concentrations appeared to be more easily modified during malting than a grain sample with low S concentration, as indicated by higher rootlet growth and higher concentrations of soluble N and sugars in the malt extracts. In the field experiment, the effects of the S treatments were not significant for all of the malting parameters tested. However, wort colour and malt steeliness appeared to increase with increasing S concentration in the barley grain, whereas malt homogeneity appeared to decrease slightly with increasing S in the grain.

HGCA Project Number: 2377
Price: £2.75

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