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Effects of crop husbandry on yield of hybrid winter barley grown in first and second cereal situations

HGCA PROJECT REPORT 403 

Effects of crop husbandry on yield of hybrid winter barley grown in first and second cereal situations 


by
Ben Freer
T he Arable Group, Dairy Buildings, Lower Norton Farm, Sutton Scotney, Winchester, Hampshire SO21 3NE

October 2006

Abstract

The first hybrid barley variety, Colossus (NFC200-57), was added to the HGCA Winter Barley Recommended List in 2004.  This six-row feed variety with high yield potential was claimed to out-yield second wheat and therefore could potentially replace it in the rotation.  The project set out to examine the potential of hybrid winter barley by exploring agronomic issues - seed rate and nitrogen management as well as performance - in a second cereal situation, particularly regarding take-all. 

The experiments ran for three consecutive harvest years - 2003 to 2005 - at sites in the south and west (Andover and Cirencester) and north (Yorkshire and Scottish Borders).  Experiments on seed rate and nitrogen dose and timing were done in a first cereal situation; seed rate in comparison with a conventional variety (Siberia) and nitrogen dose and timing with and without a take-all seed dressing (Latitude) in a second or subsequent cereal situation.

A reduction in the conventional seed rate of 30% was acceptable for hybrid barley; however it was also acceptable in most cases for a conventional variety.  There was no response to increasing the seed rate above the base level of 250 seeds/m² in a first cereal situation in ten out of twelve site years.  In the second cereal situation there was no response to increasing the seed rate above the base 250 seeds/m². 

Colossus out-yielded Siberia by an average (nine site years) of 0.54 t/ha; the largest difference recorded was 1.6 t/ha.  Take-all indices at the sites were low to moderate and yield responses to Latitude seed dressing averaged only 0.06 t/ha.  The response was slightly larger in Colossus (0.1t/ha) than Siberia (0.03 t/ha). 

Colossus responded to nitrogen dose in a similar way to conventional barley.  In the first cereal situation there was little benefit from delivering more nitrogen early;  there were several sites years when delaying 30% of the nitrogen to GS 49 reduced yield, however, particularly at the more northerly sites this timing gave greater yields.  Conversely, additional N early was beneficial at the southern sites in three out of four site years.

Specific changes are not required to agronomy for hybrid barley compared with conventional varieties.  The main driver required to make a convincing argument for a change from growing winter wheat to winter barley in a second cereal situation is still the relative yield and the relative price obtainable for each crop.

 

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