On a shorter growing variety, untreated plots were 26 inches. Both plant growth regulators only reduced plant height about two inches. As expected, plant growth regulators had minimal effect on shorter growing varieties.

“So far we have seen no negative effects of either chemical at any of the rates we used. For Palisade, the application timing is at growth stage 30-33, or a winter-time application. This may give it more flexibility of application timing,” Thomason says.

“The chemistries are different, but they basically do the same thing. And, so far we have had no problems tank-mixing either material with nitrogen,” the Virginia Tech researcher adds.

A number of seed treatments are used to keep diseases of small grains, including barley, under control. In general, these treatments have been successful in disease management programs. In addition, most popular varieties have genetic resistance to most diseases.

Also in general, these products were developed for cereal crops growing in a significantly different climate than found in the mid-Atlantic states. So, Virginia Tech researchers recently took a look at two of the primary diseases and a different approach to managing them.

Powdery mildew and leaf rust are the primary diseases of barley in the upper Southeast. Keeping these yield-robbing pathogens under control is one key to top barley production.

Virginia Tech researchers, in an effort to get a better understanding of genetic resistance of two popular varieties of barley to leafspot and powdery mildew, tested a hulled (Thoroughbred) and a hull-less (Doyce) variety last year.

Doyce has the best leafspot resistance of any variety in the Virginia Tech program and excellent powdery mildew resistance. Thoroughbred doesn’t have nearly as good resistance, but is a high yielding barley variety.

Typically, neither disease is a big problem in the fall and winter, but become a problem as seed treatment fungicides begin to break down in the spring.

In the Virginia Tech tests, at the Eastern Virginia Agricultural Research and Extension Center, Baytan, a flowable fungicide commonly used to manage cotton diseases, was applied to barley.

In plots with no seed treatment, the fungicide was applied after the plots were rated at 6 and 7 (9.0 being the worst rate of infection). After the fungicide application, the same plots were rated at 0 and 1.

 “We know the fungicide will work. How well it will fit for our growers, we don’t know yet,” says Thomason.

Killing weeds that impact the yield of barley and other small grains in the upper Southeast is relatively easy, compared to summer crops. However, managing weeds economically from fall planting until late spring harvest can be a challenge.