Barley is one of New Zealand's leading crops with approximately 300,000 tonnes harvested per year. Barley is grown for malting and for use in animal feeds. FAR's research is aimed at helping growers select appropriate cultivars and manage crop inputs in order to achieve the best economic and environmental outcomes.
Boosting barley yields
This multi-year agronomy research programme which began in autumn of 2015 aims to investigate the use of crop management to increase barley yields. Trials will be established on dryland and under irrigation at Chertsey and South Canterbury.
Trial 1 will investigate time of sowing on three winter type and two spring type barley cultivars. Current practice is to sow barley before mid-April. Sowing dates of late-March, mid-April and mid-May will be trialled to determine the optimum sowing time for each cultivar.
Trial 2 will study the effect of plant growth regulators on yield. Nitrogen is used to increase yield, however this practice can cause lodging. This trial will pair winter and spring barley cultivars with eight different plant growth regulators to identify which ones can enhance yield. An additional outcome will be the development of an effective plant growth regulator programme.
Trial 3 will examine the use of fungicides to increase yield. The aim of this trial is to further develop the current disease management programme.
Cereal Performance Trials
Soil type, weather patterns, disease susceptibility and access to irrigation are all factors which need to be considered when selecting wheat and barley cultivars. The Cereal Performance Trials (CPT), a cooperative effort between FAR, several of the major seed companies and the Flour Millers Association aim to deliver the latest trial results in order to help growers make these critical decisions. FAR manages CPT2 which is the second stage of cultivar testing where the commercial (and a few pre-commercial) cultivars are evaluated. CPT1, assessed the most favourable cultivars from seed companies and advanced breeders' material. CPT trials are run for both autumn and spring sown cultivars and the results are published and circulated to growers twice a year.
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