Barley harvest results can help grower decision making

Author: Natalie Lee | Date: 05 Oct 2016

Barley harvest.

Research has assessed the effect that harvest date delays have on the grain yield and quality of a range of malt or feed barley varieties. Photo by Evan Collis Photography.

Results from Western Australian research comparing the response of different barley varieties to delays in their harvesting date can help growers to prioritise which varieties to harvest first.

“Adverse weather can cause significant delays at harvest time, resulting in the crop standing in the field for longer than is ideal,” Department of Agriculture and Food (DAFWA) researcher Jeremy Curry said.

“These delays can affect not only barley grain yields and lodging and head loss risk, but grain quality traits important for meeting malt barley receival standards and end use traits such as pre-harvest sprouting, dormancy, water sensitivity and grain hardness.”

Mr Curry co-authored a 2016 Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) Grains Research Update paper outlining the results of a GRDC-funded study assessing the effect that harvest date delays have on the grain yield and quality of a range of malt or feed barley varieties.

“The study – involving six trials at the locations of Gibson, Northam and Katanning - confirmed that there are variations in the response of different barley varieties for lodging, head loss and grain brightness,” he said.

“However, the varieties responded similarly for the grain receival traits of hectolitre weight, screenings and grain protein concentration.”

Mr Curry said Baudin was the only variety tested in the trials which incurred minimal yield or quality losses when harvesting was delayed by more than six weeks.

Although the trials were conducted between 2009 and 2011, the varieties Baudin, Bass, Flinders and La Trobe are still commonly grown in WA.

The GRDC Grains Research Update paper Response in barley varieties to delays in harvest date is available at this link.

The trials were continued in 2015 and 2016 and this research included newer varieties including Scope CL, Granger, Spartacus CL and Compass.

Scope is comparable to Buloke, which was tested in the original trials, and 2015 trial results suggest that these varieties respond similarly to harvesting delays,” Mr Curry said.

He said that to minimise the risk associated with harvest delays, especially on the south coast, growers should consider growing only manageable areas of varieties more susceptible to lodging and head loss.

Information from the trials, including 2015 research, is incorporated into the new 2017 Barley variety sowing guide for Western Australia, released by DAFWA and co-funded by the GRDC, which is now available at this link.

The guide provides an independent appraisal of the most relevant barley varieties available to growers in WA. This includes market feedback, grain yield comparisons, disease resistance ratings, herbicide tolerance and agronomic attributes.

This year's guide has information on new varieties plus those which will be released in coming years, quick reference variety snapshots and detailed agronomic information on more than 20 varieties relevant to WA.

A printed copy of the guide will be sent to grain growers and industry members through GRDC's Ground Cover magazine network.

Contact Details

For Interviews

Jeremy Curry, DAFWA
08 9083 1160


Natalie Lee, Cox Inall Communications
08 9864 2034, 0427 189 827

GRDC Project Code DAW00190, DAW00224

Region West