What is in this article?:
- Outlook good for hull-less barley in upper Southeast
- Good stock for ethanol
- Latest variety release
- Several others on the way
• There has been considerable interest in hull-less barley varieties in recent years, leading Virginia Tech researchers to begin the long process of developing new barley varieties with acceptable agronomic traits adaptable for use in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern regions.
• Starch is the thing, when it comes to producing ethanol from barley. Though most hull-less varieties produce less yield, many produce more starch, giving them some advantage to the new Osage Bio Energy plant in Hopewell, which uses primarily barley for stock.
• Hull-less barley is very good stock for ethanol production, because the hull begins to separate from the plant as it nears harvest, providing a "cleaner" final grain product.
Several others on the way
Several varieties have made it past preliminary trials and have gone on to advanced trials at the Warsaw research facility, at other Virginia Tech research cites and in other upper Southeast locations.
Virginia 06H-79 produced five bushels per acre more than Dan and had a test weight of 56.2 in testing last year at multiple sites in Virginia. It is a candidate to be the next hull-less variety to be released, but it has very little disease resistance.
Virginia06H-25, Virginia 06H-31 and Virginia 06H-35 are all crosses between the South Carolina lines and Thoroughbred. All have done well in tests in the upper Southeast. All thresh well and are white-seeded.
Last year H-25 produced nine bushels per acre more than Dan with a test weight of 58.0. H-31 produced 11 bushels more than Dan with a test weight of 58.5. H-35 produced nine bushels more than Dan and also had a test weight of 58.5.
In preliminary tests — lines that are farther away in the variety process — several new lines have performed even better than H-25, 31 and 35. These breeding lines will move forward to advanced testing and could well become future varieties.
Of the breeding lines in preliminary tests, Virginia 08-H-3 produced 18.4 bushels per acre more than Dan and had a test weight of 59.2. This is a blue-seeded hull-less barley and of particular interest are the high yields and test weight comparable to Dan.
Virginia 08-H-6, a white-seeded line produced 11.7 bushels per acre more than Dan and had a 59.6 test weight.
Virginia 08H-78, also a white-seeded line, produced 22.7 bushels per acre more than Dan, but had a test weight of only 56.9.
With Eve and Dan now available to growers and release of advanced breeding lines sure to produce new varieties in the next few years, and preliminary lines promising even better varieties farther down the road, the future for barley in general, and hull-less barley in particular looks very promising.