Tables 3 and 4 provide barley variety yield and bushel weight evaluations from 1991 through 1995 for irrigated and rain-fed regions of the San Joaquin Valley and UC Davis near Sacramento. Since 1984, the California Agricultural Experiment Station has released four varieties: UC 476, UC 337, UC 603, and UC 828. The yield potential of the first three varieties are very close (averaging within 160 lbs/ac of each other). Overall UC 337 has achieved a more consistent combination of high yields and high bushel weights. It has fair resistance to lodging and is resistant to scald, leaf rust, barley yellow dwarf virus, and is not affected by net blotch. However, UC 337 is susceptible to powdery mildew. It matures about 7 to 10 days later than UC 603 but 5 to 7 days earlier than UC 476. UC-337 may also be preferred for winter forage production or covercropping as it is tall, with more foliage than UC-603 and more resistance to lodging than UC-476.
UC 603 is increasing among the irrigated acreage. While it has slightly lower yield potential than UC 337, it is a short statured variety with excellent resistance to lodging and scald. UC 603 is one of the earliest maturing barley varieties available (just slightly later than Fiesta). It is earlier in maturity than either UC 337 or UC 476 which often reduces the need for one irrigation in May.
UC 828 is the most recent release from the California Agriculture Experiment Station. It appears to have higher yield potential than the other three public varieties. In one commercial scale strip trial planted in Kings County during 1994, it consistently yielded 6900 lbs/ac in replicated plots. It is resistant to lodging but is later in maturity (approximately 3-5 days later than UC 337) so it will require later irrigation cutoff to achieve adequate bushel weights.
Since 1983, Northrup King has released two varieties: NK-BB82-2 and Sunbar 458. Both of these varieties yield similarly to the public varieties and attain adequate bushel weight. Both varieties are tall statured with potential use for winter forage production. In 1986, Western Plant Breeders released the variety Fiesta. In 1993, the variety Mucho (developed by Arizona Plant Breeders) was available for production. These two varieties are similar in growth features.
In the UC tests Mucho averaged 380, 15, 637 lb/ac more barley than Fiesta but Fiesta has higher bushel weight. They are short statured, resistant to lodging, and early maturing (similar to UC-603). Both varieties are susceptible to scald and leaf blotch which can lead to low yields during wet years like 1994-95. Table 4 shows these varieties excel in bushel weight. While the other varieties averaged 48 to 50 lbs/bu (still class #1 barley), Fiesta and Mucho averaged over 52 lbs/bu from 1991 through 1994. These varieties may be of particular interest to growers who have had problems attaining adequate bushel weights with other public or private varieties.
Solum, a public variety that was first released from the Arizona Agriculture Experiment Station has been used successfully in dryland conditions. It is very early maturing (earlier than UC-603, Fiesta, and Mucho). It is a tall, vigorous variety that tolerates water stress. Solum has consistently yielded about 300 to 1000 lbs/ac more barley than the other available varieties with the exception of UC-337. Solum does not compete well when irrigated more than one time as it lodges severely. If Solum seed can not be found, UC-337 is another option for dryland conditions.
November 5, 1999