At a recent Teagasc KT cereal walk in Co Donegal, growers saw the return of cereal variety trials for the first time in many years.

Growers were invited to a field walk on the farm of Michael Chance, where, earlier in the year, Liam Robb sowed seven spring barley varieties on behalf of Gold Crop.

The varieties planted included Chancellor, Gangway, Paustian, Planet, Prospect, Planet, Flyer and Hacker.

All varieties were sown at 190kg/ha on 14 April into a seedbed which had received 420kg/ha of 10:8:25+S.

John Dunne, Gold Crop, and Martin McCullough, Teagasc, speaking at the KT walk.

The crops received a total of 155kg N/ha and, as disease pressure was low during the spring, received a T1 of Proline (0.23l/ha) as well as Sparviero (45ml/ha), Zypar (0.44l/ha) and Cameo (35g/ha).

All crops are around GS32 and had a high establishment rate.

A small amount of net blotch was present, as was a small amount of yellowing due to water logging.

Variety trials

Growers at the walk spoke of their frustration at the lack of cereal variety trials in the Donegal area, given that the Department of Agriculture’s Tops Potato Centre in Raphoe, Co Donegal, now focuses largely on potato variety trials.

We spoke to local tillage farmer Peter Lynch, who explains that given the difference in climate in the northwest compared with other cereal-growing regions in the country, it is important to have information specific to the northwest region.

Listen to the interview below:

Open day

While the variety plots will not be rigorously monitored for differences between disease resistance, straw strength, grain quality, etc, the varieties still serve as useful resources for growers in that region to compare and contrast different varieties.

An open day is planned on the farm for the middle of July, where the varieties should be fully headed out.

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