Alberta Barley

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Improving malting barley production in Eastern Canada through disease resistance to Fusarium head blight and foliar diseases

Project lead:
Dr. Richard Martin
Research Scientist
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Timeline: April 2013 – March 2018


Alberta Barley funding: $11,000
Total funding from other partners: $51,250

Benefits for barley farmers
The production of barley is hampered across Canada due to numerous diseases including Fusarium head blight. Improving disease resistance in malting barley cultivars is essential. Barley farmers and industry will benefit from new disease control strategies and improved disease resistance in germplasm.

The project will eventually provide farmers and regional maltsters and brewers with the information necessary to select the best available cultivars for producing quality products where diseases are not limiting factors or are reduced to acceptable levels. Disease resistance/susceptibility data has been collected for malting barley cultivars that are geared towards the Maritime and Eastern Canada. This has indicated positive net blotch and powdery mildew resistance in a number of lines, such as Cerveza.

Developments – June 2016
The project was suspended in the 2015/2016 year by the previous principle investigator Dr. Richard Martin. Work will resume in 2016/2017 as this project has been taken over by Dr. Adam Foster.

Objectives for the upcoming year – June 2016
The main objectives of this study are the identification of improved fusarium head blight (FHB) resistance, the identification improved foliar and root rot disease resistance and the development of disease control strategies to reduce severity of fungal diseases in malting barley.

The goal of this project was:

  1. To assist in the development of malting barley germplasm.
  2. To assess malting barley germplasm and cultivars and for disease resistance.
  3. To develop new field management strategies for control of malting barley diseases.

Malting barley germplasm was tested for foliar disease and FHB. The results were provided to Dr. Khanal, the barley breeder at Ottawa Research and Development Centre. The efficacy of foliar fungicide and nitrogen treatments on malt barley cultivars were also tested. It was that Caramba plus nitrate boosted yield, but also increased seed size and protein. Nitrate treated barley was also found to have significantly higher DON content.

Improved disease resistance in malting barley germplasm should mitigate the risk of losing yield or quality due to diseases. Effective testing of disease management strategies on eastern and western cultivars will assist farmers in developing IPM strategies to limit contamination of barley by fungal mycotoxins (DON).

Updated July 16, 2018