Ahead of the new 2023 spring season, the results of the 2022 spring oat variety trials have now been published and can be found at the following link: LiveOat Final Report
Varieties Isabel (Control, RL), Merlin (new to RL), Lion (RL) and Husky (commonly grown in Ireland) were evaluated in 2022 across six farms located Suffolk, Wiltshire, Shropshire (2), Gloucestershire and Worcestershire. The spring 2022 growing season was characterised by a spring drought and higher than average temperatures. Crops in the east and on lighter land suffered most, with crops drilled earlier less susceptible to the drought.
The trials showed a strong performance by both Isabel and Merlin with most of the agronomic traits seeing the four varieties split into two groups; Isabel and Merlin showing mostly positive, desirable traits and Lion and Husky showing less positive or even undesirable traits. For example, Isabel and Merlin show good canopy traits of vigour (see chart below) and height helping make them more weed competitive. They also showed good disease resistance and the highest spikelet density (the product of panicle number per m2 and spikelets per panicle) as a combination of yield components. They were also the two varieties with the highest yield and bushel weight.
A strong relationship between panicle number, spikelet number per panicle and crop ground cover was found to yield. Higher ground cover was generally associated with higher yield as was higher panicle number and spikelet number per panicle.
Isabel and Merlin will be included in the 2023 trials along with new varieties Zenith and Vaughan. We will also test the seed treatment Tiros.
This work is funded by a research levy contribution from both White's and our members and demonstrates both our commitment to supporting the organic arable sector in determining the most suitable varieties, and to working across the supply chain for the benefit of all concerned.
Please get in touch if you'd like to take part in the trials or for more information on the work.