WHAT DEFINES a Sloop? Growers may well ask, as Sloop malting barley is joined by its new siblings Sloop SA and Sloop Vic.
The short answer is that the new varieties are the first CCN-resistant malting barleys, but to perceptive growers they are an opportunity to change their rotations and systems for greater profit. (The two varieties have different agronomic traits suited to different environments — see table. )
CCN (cereal cyst nematode) has been one of the most widespread, insidious and damaging root diseases of cereals in south-eastern Australia. As well as reducing yield, the disease has restricted grower options because many high-value wheats (including durum) as well as malting barley have been susceptible to CCN.
The highly resistant Sloop SA and Sloop Vic should boost malting barley production and help 'tighten the noose' that good rotation and variety choice have already put around the neck of that yield thief —CCN.
CCN-proofing farms in SA
Maurice and Mary Geister and son Stephen see Sloop SA as the next step in their campaign to nullify the effects of CCN on their property 'Westropa', 30 km north of Kapunda in South Australia's Mid-North. From a decade ago when CCN was 'everywhere', according to Mr Geister, the family have introduced canola and lupins to the rotation to break the disease cycle, and replaced their CCN-susceptible Halberd and Spear wheat with the resistant variety Frame.
The Geisters purchased Sloop SA seed this year and hope to reap a 2-2. 5 t/ha crop. Sloop has been their mainstay variety since it replaced Schooner mainly due to high head loss of the latter variety. "By helping us reduce CCN even further, Sloop SA will protect our durum enterprise (Durum varieties are moderately intolerant to CCN — Ed), give us more options to try some of the newer wheat varieties and perhaps make a few more dollars, " Mr Geister said.
On Yorke Peninsula, the toughness of Sloop SA in 2002 has shown through for Kyle Holman. There has been only 7 inches (175 mm) growing season rainfall at 'Martinella', 8 km south of Paskerville on the northern Yorke Peninsula, yet Mr Holman is delivering 1. 5 t/ha from his Sloop crop and 2 t/ha from Sloop SA "Taller, stands better, and lower screenings" was Mr Holman's comment. "No more Barque or Sloop for us. "
Sloop Vic gets through the drought
In Victoria, the drought has ravaged the 2002 Sloop Vic seed crops. More fortunate growers are Graeme and Tracy Beddison of 'Weeroona' on the Kalkee plain, 20 km north of Horsham. "Probably our worst year ever, " said Mr Beddison,
"But we are luckier than most and should harvest 0. 8 t/ha from our Sloop Vic seed crop. We put the crop on a green fallow (vetch incorporated with an offset disc in spring 2001) and perhaps that has helped a little. "
'Weeroona' is all crop and the Beddisons need more cereal to extend the rotation between their lentil, chickpea and fenugreek crops. "Barley has been our mainstay cereal — we liked Schooner, but the head loss got us in the end and Arapiles has not performed. We now have Gairdner and are getting excellent results — high yields and plump grain, but it is CCN-susceptible and Sloop Vic will be our insurance, " Mr Beddison said.
At Brim in the 'mallee fringe country' of the northern Wimmera, Max Golder is ecstatic about the performance of Sloop Vic on his high boron clay-loam soils. "We discovered our boron problem through grain analysis of TOPCROP trials some years ago and have grown Frame and Yitpi for boron and CCN, " Mr Golder said.
"We jumped at the chance to try Sloop Vic in 2001 and reckon it gave us up to 25 per cent yield advantage compared to Sloop. " With no crop this year, Mr Golder is looking forward to repeating that experience in 2003.
previously CCN resistance was available only in feed varieties
Be patient for pay-off next season
Both Sloop Vic and Sloop SA are 'back-cross' lines, adding the CCN-resistance trait to the parent Sloop while keeping its good adaptation and malting quality. VIDA's barley breeder and the breeder of Sloop Vic, David Moody, said: "previously CCN resistance was available only in feed barley varieties like Chebec, Barque, Galleon and Keel; now, for the first time, we have two CCN-resistant malting barley lines".
growers benefit from lower CCN in second year —'resistance' stops CCN multiplying in the roots
Mr Moody's advice to growers is not to expect big yield increases from the new varieties on CCN-infested paddocks because their 'tolerance' to CCN already present in the soil is unchanged. "But growers benefit through lower CCN in the following year because the 'resistance' stops CCN multiplying in the roots, " Mr Moody said.
If 2002 is a year to forget for most growers, 2001 was one of those seasons that everyone wishes would come around again. At 'Oaklands', 1 km west of Kaniva and 25 km from the South Australian border, Malcolm and Diane Eastwood grew Sloop Vic in a 2001 malting trial. Mr Eastwood acknowledges it was an exceptional season, but "210 tonnes off 47 hectares" (4. 47 t/ha) is no mean yield.
Mr Eastwood's Sloop Vic was grown next to a Gairdner malting barley crop. "We were asked to sow the Sloop Vic at a heavy rate (80 kg/ha) and, compared to Gairdner which grew like a weed, Sloop Vic was vigorous, had good colour, was upright and a good height, " said Mr Eastwood. In the end Gairdner outyielded Sloop Vic, but Mr Eastwood admits the season was ideal for the later-maturing variety. Once again the Sloop Vic presents possible insurance for the CCN prone Gairdner.
Harvestability is very important to Mr Eastwood and Sloop Vic performed similarly to Schooner and Arapiles. "It's not a crop to sit around while you do other things, " he said. "It's not a patch on Gairdner with its excellent straw strength and head retention. "
Adds flexibility to rotations
As committed barley growers, how do the Eastwoods see the future for Sloop Vic? "We traditionally grew only wheat and barley. CCN forced us into growing canola and legumes including beans and lentils, but now we are having problems controlling volunteer vetch and bedstraw in the 1: 1 cereal-broadleaf rotation".
"We see Sloop Vic working for us by allowing us to move to a 2:1 cereal-broadleaf rotation and still keeping the pressure on CCN, " Mr Eastwood said.
Varieties? Mr Eastwood sees it this way — "We liked Schooner as a consistent yielder, but the head loss was bad. Arapiles was no better and the high screenings in drier years and the 'harvest itch' sent us back to Schooner, " Mr Eastwood said. "Now with Gairdner looking excellent on our better soils and Sloop Vic for CCN management and our boron toxicity situations, we may have the varieties we have been waiting for. "
To put it in a nutshell: the choice is not Sloop Vic or Sloop SA. The choice is for profitable and flexible rotations using Sloop Vic and Sloop SA — see table for characteristics.
Sloop SA and Sloop Vic are protected under the Plant Breeder's Rights Act 1994 and unauthorised sale of seed of the varieties may be an infringement of the Act. Graintrust Pty Ltd has been licensed by the breeders of Sloop Vic and Sloop SA to produce and market seed and seed of both varieties is available through local retailers in SA and Victoria. An end-point licence fee of $1. 70 per tonne is applicable to all production of these varieties.
Program 1 Contact:
Mr Maurice Geister 08 8581 1452
Mr Kyle Holman 08 8827 2153
Mr Graeme Beddison 03 5384 2201
Mr Malcolm Eastwood 03 5392 2612
Mr Max Golder 03 5390 0206
Mr David Moody 03 5362 2111
Comparison of CCN resistant barleys — Schooner, Sloop , Sloop Vic, Sloop SA
|Schooner||Sloop||Sloop Vic||Sloop SA|
|Adaptation||Widely adapted variety||Widely adapted variety||Later maturity may compromise yield in low-rainfall areas and years. Suitable for heavy soils in the southern and central Mallee and northern Wimmera.||Earlier maturity may favour lighter soils and/or lower rainfall areas/years where early maturity is important.|
|Flowering||Mid-season variety||Mid-season variety||Later (Sloop +4 days)||Slightly earlier (Sloop -1 day)|
|Yield¹||About 5% higher yielding than Schooner||Similar to Sloop in Vic, slightly less in SA||Small improvement on Sloop|
|Head retention||Moderate to high head loss||Much improved head retention relative to Schooner||Equal to or slightly worse than Sloop||Worse than Sloop similar to Schooner|
|Foliar disease||Lacks leaf-resistance||Similar to Sloop, but resistant to powdery mildew||Similar to Sloop|
|Boron tolerance||Susceptible||Susceptible||Tolerant Up to 10% yield advantage over Sloop on boron toxic sites in Victoria.||Susceptible Has yielded well on boron toxic soils in SA probably linked to its earlier maturity.|
|Grain size||Excellent grain size||Excellent grain size||Excellent grain size|
|Malting quality||Moderate only, lacks diastatic power.||Good. Major improvement on Schooner||Similar to Sloop||Similar to Sloop|
|Cultural notes||Windrowing recommended||Windrowing recommended|
|Potential replacement for:||Schooner, Sloop, Chebec||Schooner, Sloop Chebec, Keel,Barque, Galleon.|
¹ Yield will be influenced by multiple factors including maturity, presence of boron and other undefined factors. For example, Sloop SA has shown a significant yield advantage over Schooner, Sloop and Sloop Vic even on boron toxic soils in tough seasons like 1999 and 2002 in SA. This may be due to its earlier maturity. Current indications are that Sloop Vic may have a long-term yield advantage where annual average rainfall exceeds about 350 mm, but Sloop SA may be favoured where rainfall is lower or where soil conditions favour early maturity. Growers should seek competent local advice.
² Ability to stop multiplication of CCN in the root — reduces CCN numbers in the following year.
³ Ability to yield even when infected with CCN.
⁴ Higher figure on 0-9 scale indicates improved malting quality