Alberta Barley

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Farming Smarter (Formerly SARA & SACA)

Farming Smarter provided valuable research for southern Albertan producers in 2012, both in-person and online. More than 1,000 people attended their field school days, variety demonstrations and crop walks dedicated to diseases, insects and various crop types.

A good news story for barley in 2012 was that it was one of the most energy-efficient crops that farmers grew in the area. Barley was second only to peas in terms of crop units produced per amount of energy, including field, pesticides and fertilizers at Farming Smarter’s 2012 trials.

In the fall of 2012, Farming Smarter wrapped up three years of field scale tests on disease management in irrigated cereal crops. Co-operating producers altered their irrigation schedule by filling the soil’s water profile prior to flowering, and then avoided irrigation during the flowering period when barley is most susceptible to diseases like Fusarium. The data showed a slight reduction in disease prevalence in crops irrigated under this modified schedule, although the difference was not enough to be conclusive.

Variety trials for southern Alberta were managed by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, which operates an irrigated site at Lethbridge and a dryland site at Raymond. The results told a surprising story, with the dryland site out-yielding the irrigated plots.

The two-row dryland plots yielded an average of 93.6 bu/ac, while the average for the same varieties at the irrigated site was 86.3 bu/ac. Similarly, six-row varieties yielded an average of 105.6 bu/ac at the dryland site and 100.9 bu/ac at the irrigated site.

Farming Smarter’s top yielding barley

Yields are shown in bu/ac.

Two-row: dryland

  • Champion: 105.5
  • Xena: 104.5
  • TR09208: 97.4

Two-row: irrigated

  • TR07728: 94.8
  • Xena: 93.2
  • Champion: 91.5

Six-row: dryland

  • Muskwa: 122.4
  • BT589: 110.7
  • Vivar: 109.6

Six-row: irrigated

  • Muskwa: 110.9
  • Vivar: 101.8
  • BT589: 101.2

For more information, visit Farming Smarter’s website www.farmingsmarter.com.