This week saw the release of the spring cereal recommended lists by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

Five new varieties entered the ring for 2022 in the barley and wheat categories, while oats remained unchanged, so farmers have a bit more choice for the season ahead.

Geraldine, Skyway and SY Amity have all been provisionally recommended to the spring barley list and all three are well ahead on relative yield.

KWS Helium and WPB Duncan made the cut on the wheat list for 2022.

Variety choice

Variety choice is an important job and can play a large role in improving your farm’s economic and environmental sustainability. Each farm and farmer are different and in order to allow that variety to fit into your farming system, you need to look at all of its traits.

For example, rust may be more of a problem in some parts of the country than others, such as along the east coast, and a variety with good resistance will be needed here.

In spring barley, straw strength and resistance to lodging have become important traits. As weather becomes more unsettled at harvest time, varieties need to be able to stand up to some hardship.

Weather will also be the major player in disease management. Geraldine and SY Amity both have good resistance figures for Rhynchosporium, net blotch and mildew, and this could help to save on fungicide spend.

Relative yield

Relative yield is only one figure on the recommended lists and while it is important, many more factors should be taken into consideration when choosing a variety.

If you are planting for a premium market, it may be the case that the variety is chosen for you, but ask your adviser if there is a choice, as there could be an option in your area.

Keep an eye on the Irish Farmers Journal for more information on the recommended lists.