Alberta Barley

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The impact of seed treatments and foliar fungicides and their interaction with variety resistance and plant growth regulators on barley productivity and quality

Project lead:
Dr. T. Kelly Turkington
Research Scientist
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Timeline: April 2013 – March 2018


Alberta Barley funding: $92,080
Total funding from other partners: $493,644

Benefits for barley farmers
Plant growth regulators (PGR) application might help to optimize yield and quality of malting barley by mitigating the effects of lodging, especially in conjunction with fungicide application. Limiting the amount of lodging might help to reduce microbial load and toxin contamination of harvested grain.

The project aims to 1) determine the impact of seed treatments, PGRs and fungicide timing on crop health, disease levels, productivity and quality in barley; 2) assess the interaction of disease resistance with seed treatments and fungicides; and 3) assess the interactive effects of PGR application and head-emergence fungicide application on malting barley quality, yield, microbial load and mycotoxin level.

Recent developments
Preliminary results from 2015 suggest the most significant factors impacting leaf disease severity later in the growing season, i.e. late milk/early dough and final crop yields were the two fungicide applications. However, trends in yield response did not always follow responses to fungicide application. For example, no fungicide treatment effects were observed at Brandon and Charlottetown even though these sites had moderate levels of leaf disease and an associated reduction in leaf disease severity following fungicide application at either the flag leaf or head emergence stages.  For study 2 data for Charlottetown were recently received and are currently being analyzed, while no data are reported for Lacombe due to hail damage in July 2015. At Melfort, early and mid-season leaf disease severity was very low and not affected by any of the treatments. However, final disease severity on flag -1 and flag -2 leaves collected at late milk/early dough was significantly affected by the treatments. Seed treatments did not influence disease. However, the factors that had the largest impact on disease and yield responses were variety and the application of fungicide at the flag leaf stage. In general, fungicide application was only useful for the susceptible variety, Sundre in relation to reducing leaf disease severity and improving grain yields.

Grain samples from the seed treatment, PGR, fungicide experiment have been sent to the Canadian Grain Commission for malting quality analysis and to assess the impact of treatments on microbial characteristics of the grain. Assessments are ongoing.

Objectives for the upcoming year
Project is ongoing with the same main objectives as last year.

Last updated June 2016