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Developments on arable crops showcased at Cereals in Practice

James Hutton Institute and SRUC researchers (c) James Hutton Institute
"The event again provided an excellent platform for the researchers at the James Hutton Institute to demonstrate the benefits that their innovation is having on the cereal and malt industries.

How to protect cereal crops from the increased disease pressure caused by the mild winter and spring and early drilling was a key point of interest at this year’s Cereals in Practice event, co-hosted by the James Hutton Institute, Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) and the Scottish Society for Crop Research (SSCR) to showcase the latest research on arable crops at Burnside Farm, Stanley near Perth.

Dr Stuart Swanston, senior research scientist at the James Hutton Institute, provided an insight into BBSRC Crop Improvement Research Club sponsored work studying the influence of nitrogen on malt processability.

Different winter and spring varieties are being grown under low and high nitrogen regimes and then micro malted and analysed for a range of malting parameters including a processability test developed by Camden BRI. This research is of immense benefit to breeders, maltsters and growers as it aims to identify barley varieties that can malt well under a range of conditions and thus reduce rejections.

Underlining the tangible benefits to the malt industry of this research, Dr Swanston said: “Early malting results are highlighting varieties that are in turn more sensitive to increasing grain nitrogen content with a marked reduction in the amount of malt extract and an increase in viscosity whereas others are much more stable.”

On a similar vein, James Hutton Institute PhD student Hazel Bull discussed her efforts to improve six row barley by demonstrating the effects of adding different alleles at a third locus controlling row type and then comparing the results to other six-row varieties including an old Scottish land-race – Scots Bere.

“There remains a problem over the uniformity of six–row grain even with both genes present and this is one of the main reasons why the crop has not been adopted by maltsters for use in brewing and distilling. We are investigating the effect of adding a third gene controlling six-row head type to current six-rows to determine if we can make further improvements in lateral grain development and hence produce a more uniform sample,” she explained.

Soil scientists Willie Towers and Blair McKenzie presented a profile pit to assess soil structure, and commented: “All cereal crops grow in soils and they can be highly variable in nature; they vary in drainage, texture and depth for example.

“Cereal cropping involves multiple passes over the soil by machinery and this can have adverse impacts on the soil structure and soil functionality through compaction. This affects not just plant growth but also other functions of soil such as water retention and greenhouse gas exchange.”

These are just a selection of the scientific advancements on show at the Cereals in Practice event, which once again provided an excellent platform for the researchers at the James Hutton Institute to demonstrate the benefits that their innovation is having on the cereal and malt industries.

More information from: 

Bernardo Rodriguez-Salcedo, Media Manager, Tel: +44 (0)1224 395089 (direct line), +44 (0)344 928 5428 (switchboard) or +44 (0)7791 193918 (mobile).


Printed from /news/developments-arable-crops-showcased-cereals-practice on 16/09/19 03:39:12 AM

The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.