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Growing Demonstrations of UK Cereal landraces, landrace selections and early cultivars from the BBSRC Small Grain Cereal Collections

Background

There has been increasing interest over recent years in the status and use of old varieties and landraces of cereals grown in the UK. Whether as part of studies aimed at comparing the genetic diversity of the current genepool to that prior to modern plant breeding, or the dissecting of lineages of specific allelic variation through to interests from thatching an millers interested in authenticated UK material. The increased emphasis on sustainable agriculture has also resulted in renewed interest in older forms of the crop, which were typically cultivated under the lower input farming systems of former decades. Concerns have also been expressed over the lack of available UK material for traditional practices such as wheat straw for thatching raises the question as to what material is actually available.

A recent study conducted as part of a UK National Inventory of Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture commissioned by the DEFRA, involved the estimation of the in situ occurrence of cereal landraces in the UK, the extent of their current cultivation, uses and geographic location. Of the wheat landraces described by Percival (1934) very few were found to be still in cultivation and those that remain are grown primarily for their straw. The work on this project concluded in the summer of 2004.

 

From discussions within the project it became clear that the material currently grown around the UK represents a very limited proportion of the material that is available from earlier decades. Material registered within ex-situ collections remains overlooked or unrecognised and is not widely known to groups who may be interested in exploring variation within older wheat and barley material from the UK. The BBSRC Small Grain Cereal collections have reviewed the available holdings that relates to UK landraces, selections from landraces and early cultivars (pre-1940s), collated with a view to grow them out for further characterisation and evaluation. This growing demonstration is available for outside groups and individuals who have an interest in such material and requests for seed from these plots will be encouraged for those who wish to evaluate material it for their own purposes. The exercise is a two-way interaction as it is anticipated that information on traits and attributes learnt from people who actually farmed it in the past would provide additional notes for the associated records. This series of demonstration plots has now entered it’s sixth year.

Plans for 2011

The number of Demonstration plots sown in mid-October 2010 was increased to 60 accessions (Table 1). This includes a number of newly acquired or verified ‘Heritage’ lines. Each 1m2 plot was sown at low density and the plots will be grown free of growth regulators and with minimal fungicides and reduced nitrogen. Characterisation of the material will be undertaken throughout the growing season along with an assessment of lodging.

Table 1. Growing Demonstration of Heritage wheats 2011/2012.

 

ACC

CULT

Species

1

1022

 Percival's Blue Cone

T. turgidum

2

508

 Rampton Rivet

T. turgidum

3

1080063

 Mirable

T. turgidum

4

987

 Red Lammas

T. aestivum

5

997

 Teverson

T. aestivum

6

990

 Talavera de Belle Vue

T. aestivum

7

10034

 Kentish Red Straw

T. aestivum

8

10033

 Old Kent Red

T. aestivum

9

10032

 Kentish Red Straw

T. aestivum

10

10031

 Old Devon Rough Chaff

T. aestivum

10

3

 Glendowe

T. aestivum

11

1130

 Brooker's Double Standup

T. aestivum

12

1122

 Solid Straw Velvet

T. aestivum

13

498

 Hen Gymro

T. aestivum

14

10030

 Thunstall

T. aestivum

15

1168

 Old Burrel

T. aestivum

16

1003

 Old Welsh April Bearded

T. aestivum

17

1012

 Bearded Red

T. aestivum

18

5623

 Red Standard

T. aestivum

19

511

 Squareheads Master 13/4

T. aestivum

20

1157

 Square Heads

T. aestivum

21

1091

 Red Stettin 13

T. aestivum

22

260

 White Fife

T. aestivum

23

253

 Red Fife

T. aestivum

24

976

 Benefactor

T. aestivum

25

1002

 Chidham 1

T. aestivum

26

1001

 Browick Old True

T. aestivum

27

492

 Browick

T. aestivum

28

501

 Little Joss

T. aestivum

29

517

 Yeoman

T. aestivum

30

1126

 Yeoman B 9425

T. aestivum

30

1035

 Oxford Prize

T. aestivum

31

999

 Prince Albert

T. aestivum

31

1123

 Hunter's 2

T. aestivum

32

1128

 Egyptian Mummy

T. aestivum

32

986

 Hickling de Mars

T. aestivum

33

1151

 Balwin Early Red

T. aestivum

34

1200

 Brown's Winter Wheat

T. aestivum

35

431

 Red Marvel

T. aestivum

36

1079

 Webb's Universal

T. aestivum

37

994

 Burgoygn's Fife

T. aestivum

37

1063

 Marster's premier

T. aestivum

38

1206

 Redfast

T. aestivum

39

1060

 Sussex Stormproof

T. aestivum

40

1107

 Stacey's Red Chaff Red Wheat

T. aestivum

41

1056

 Red Chaffed Yeoman

T. aestivum

42

514

 Victor

T. aestivum

43

1117

 White Standup

T. aestivum

44

1143

 Gartons Sixty

T. aestivum

45

490

 Alpha

T. aestivum

46

1262

 Ritchie

T. aestivum

47

988

 Rouge d'Ecosse

T. aestivum

48

10036

 Rouge d-Ecosse

T. aestivum

49

493

 Defiant

T. aestivum

49

989

 Sherriffs Epi Carre

T. aestivum

50

1075

 Starling II

T. aestivum

50

10037

 Epi Carre Veloute

T. aestivum

51

497

 Golden Drop

T. aestivum

52

10035

 GoldenDrop

T. aestivum

53

1036

 Swann

T. aestivum

54

1080

 New Harvester

T. aestivum

55

505

 Milns N 59

T. aestivum

56

419

 Marsters A1

T. aestivum

57

385

 Cappelle Desprez

T. aestivum

58

2214

Aquila

T. aestivum

59

499

Holdfast

T. aestivum

60

4114

Maris Widgeon

T. aestivum

As previously, the plots will be available for viewing by prior appointment either as individual or group visits. In addition, an open day will be organised where interested parties will have the opportunity to view the plots with a view to identifying any material of potential interest that they might care to grow and evaluate for themselves. This initiative will be publicised in the farming and local press. Anyone interested is encouraged to contact us to arrange viewing and inspection of the material with a view to requesting small quantities for their own evaluation following harvesting and processing.

Lodging resistance

Lodging of each line is assessed at the point when the nodes are still green but the stems are turning yellow (nominal harvest time for thatching). While the same lines are not grown each year, there is a sufficient overlap of lines each year to make looking at the scores across years meaningful. The results have highlighted a higher than anticipated level of reproducibility in scores (Table 2). Clearly some years are more discriminating than others. 2009 was particularly good at drawing out the differences in performance whereas 2010 was more benign so no severe lodging was recorded. The lines that demonstrate a resistance to lodging can clearly be seen at the head of the table (acc. W511, W517 and W5623). The poorest performers falling to the bottom of the table include W3, W990 and W994. Care should be exercised when evaluating these results in that some of the lines are more spring types but were sown in the autumn so this might not reflect their performance at different times of year. Secondly, these are small unreplicated plots that were supported on the outside to facilitate viewing and observation. Nevertheless, despite these caveats, there is clear evidence of line variation in lodging scores. This analysis will be updated at the end of the 2011 season to enable judgements to be made as to risks associated with some of the material with respect to lodging.

 

Table 2. Lodging scores for a range of heritage bread wheats at nominal ‘harvesting time’. Lines ranked in ascending order of scores in 2009, 2010 and 2008. Scores 1 – 9 where 1= upright and 9= severely lodged. Green= 1 - 2, orange=3 - 5, Red=6 - 9. Grey boxes indicate the line was not grown in that year.

ACC

CULT

Ht at maturity

L 06

L 07

L 08

L 09

L 10

5623

Red Standard

120

 

1

1

1

1

511

Squareheads Master 13/4

130

1

1

1

1

1

517

Yeoman

112

 

1

1

1

1

1200

Brown's Winter Wheat

120

 

 

2

1

1

385

Cappelle Desprez

83

 

 

 

1

1

499

Holdfast

104

 

 

 

1

1

4114

Maris Widgeon

94

 

 

 

1

1

419

Marsters A1

110

 

2

1

2

1

505

Milns N 59

118

 

1

1

2

1

1123

Hunter's 2

115

 

 

 

2

1

1151

Balwin Early Red

105

 

 

 

2

1

501

Little Joss

122

 

3

1

3

1

1128

Egyptian Mummy

112

 

 

 

3

1

492

Browick

128

 

 

 

4

1

497

Golden Drop

135

 

 

 

4

1

976

Benefactor

120

 

1

 

4

1

1001

Browick Old True

138

2

1

1

5

1

1080

New Harvester

118

 

1

1

6

1

1012

Bearded Red

130

 

1

1

6

1

498

Hen Gymro

130

 

2

2

6

1

253

Red Fife

120

1

1

3

6

1

1126

Yeoman B 9425

123

 

 

 

6

1

1157

Square Heads

125

1

1

1

7

1

1091

Red Stettin 13

127

 

1

1

7

1

987

Red Lammas

130

 

3

6

7

1

989

Sherriffs Epi Carre

118

 

 

 

7

2

986

Hickling de Mars

137

 

 

 

7

3

997

Teverson

130

 

 

4

8

1

1002

Chidham 1

120

 

3

 

8

2

1003

Old Welsh April Bearded

125

3

 

3

8

3

988

Rouge d'Ecosse

148

 

 

 

9

1

1035

Oxford Prize

128

 

3

 

9

1

999

Prince Albert

134

 

 

 

9

1

260

White Fife

137

 

3

3

9

5

990

Talavera de Belle Vue

123

 

 

6

9

6

994

Burgoygn's Fife

126

 

 

2

9

7

3

Glendowe

148

 

3

 

9

7

 

Another useful analysis that can be performed is to explore the relationship between canopy height (height to the top the peduncle) at maturity and lodging. A graph of the data for 2009 (Fig 1) which showed a wide range of lodging scores, shows clearly that canopy heights below 120cm were resistant to lodging (scores 1 and 20 whereas heights above this were prone to lodge. Heights of around 130cm had the most variable scores but the data across years presented in table 2 suggests that some lines with canopy heights in this range might exhibit a degree of resistance to lodging. The same health warning on this analysis as applies to the lodging scores.

 

Figure 1. Lodging scores versus canopy height at maturity for lines grown in 2009. Lodging scores 1 – 9 where 1= upright and 9= severely lodged

 

Description: Lodging 2009

For further information relating to the collections please contact: Mike Ambrose John Innes Centre, Norwich Research Park Colney Lane, Norwich, NR4 7UH.
TEL: +01603 450630      EMAIL:mike.ambrose@jic.ac.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

   

   

   

   

   

 

      

     

      

 

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