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Targeting winter barley disease management - LK0961

Barley is a useful component in arable crop rotations. For example, it allows an early entry for oilseed rape or, when followed by other crops, provides time for cultural weed control. However, for barley production to be economically sustainable, high yields of quality grain need to be obtained consistently, without prohibitive input costs. The splash-borne diseases of barley are particularly damaging and can require substantial fungicide inputs for effective control. However, there is considerable variation in fungicide requirement between crops. Hence, fungicide treatments need to be well targeted. Rational treatment decisions are also needed to avoid unnecessary exposure of pathogen populations to fungicides and the consequent increased selective pressure for fungicide insensitivity.

The first step in targeting disease management is to understand how disease affects yield. Knowledge of yield formation in the healthy crop is being provided by the current HGCA/SEERAD funded project Winter barley reference cropping to provide a growth guide (ADAS, University of Nottingham, SAC). The project has demonstrated that grain yields of 11 tonnes per hectare can be obtained from two-row barley, where sink capacity is maximised and assimilate source maintained. In this context, source is defined as the dry matter available for grain filling (through post-anthesis photosynthesis and translocation to the grain of assimilates accumulated pre-anthesis). Sink capacity is defined as the size of the assimilate store in the grain. Yields are determined by either source or sink, depending on which is smaller. Data from the first two years of the reference cropping project indicate a tendency towards sink limitation. This may explain field observations that report variable responses to late season disease control, as strongly sink limited crops are likely to be unresponsive to late treatments which only increase source.
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2004

To: 2008

Cost: £322,321
Contractor / Funded Organisations
University - Scottish Agricultural College, Masstock Arable (UK) Ltd, BASF plc, UAP Ltd, CSC Crop Protection Ltd, Agrovista UK Ltd, ADAS UK Ltd., Home Grown Cereals Authority, Bayer UK Ltd
Arable Farming              
Cereal Production              
Crop Diseases              
Crop Improvement              
Disease Control              
Fungicide use              
LINK Programme              
Sustainable Consumption and Production              
Sustainable Farming and Food              
Sustainable Production              
Fields of Study
Arable Crops