Scottish cereal growers choosing which variety to plant have been encouraged to consider factors beyond market value and yield.
Following the publication of the latest recommendations from Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), Dr Steve Hoad of the college’s crop and soil systems research team says: “The cereal varieties recommended have the highest commercial and agronomic value for Scottish growers and those using the crops.
“But in support of market use and saleability, growers are encouraged to consider factors such as the timing of harvesting, the risk of sprouting, disease risk and straw strength and length.”
The new SRUC list contains conventional agronomic details such as yield, but Dr Hoad believes closer study of the choices available may be valuable to farmers, especially given the volatility of the growing season and restrictions on pesticide use.
Although established varieties are expected to dominate in 2016, the list features new spring barley varieties are looking promising for the future.
Dr Hoad says: “When the variety Concerto arrived in 2009 it set new standards for processing quality, but as we have learnt it is not the complete package when coping with the challenges of the Scottish climate.
“New spring barley varieties have the potential to deliver some much needed stability in agronomic performance, though Concerto will continue to dominate for the next two years.”