Serving the Farming Industry across East Anglia for 35 Years
A Lincolnshire grower says winter barley will remain firmly in his rotation after successfully returning to the crop with two-row feed variety Bolton. ‘Excellent’ winter barley yields impress grower

• Variety has consistent reputation

• Suitable for range of conditions

• In rotation for foreseeable future

A Lincolnshire grower says winter barley will remain firmly in his rotation after successfully returning to the crop with two-row feed variety Bolton.

Tim Booth, who achieved an average yield of 9.4t/ha, says Bolton is living up to its reputation as a consistent, high-yielding and straightforward variety at JN Booth & Sons, near Swineshead.

Mr Booth grows 404ha of arable crops – including winter wheat, oilseed rape and winter barley – on a range of soil types. He had given up growing winter barley but started again two years ago when widening his rotation to include a good entry for early drilled oilseed rape.

A positive experience with two-row Lightning in 2022 saw Mr Booth try Bolton for 2023. Both varieties are by Elsoms and Mr Booth now plans to keep winter barley in the rotation for the foreseeable future, drilling Bolton again this autumn.

No-brainer

“Having achieved a very high yield with Lightning last year, the decision to go with Bolton seemed a no-brainer. We drilled 16ha of the crop on 1 October across three fields of mainly Grade 2 land varying from light silt to heavy clay soils.”

As with Lightning, Bolton showed excellent early vigour, competing and tillering well to smother blackgrass. With no major weather issues or hard frosts to knock it back, the crop was already at the 4-5 tiller stage as it went into winter.

Following a mild winter, Mr Booth applied 300kg/ha of fertiliser in two splits, one on 24 February and the next on 27 March – the same application date as a T1 spray in a four-spray fungicide program.

Taking a belt and braces approach, he built the spray programme mainly around pyraclostrobin + fluxapyroxad, chlormequat and prothioconazole with trinexapac-ethyl applied as a growth regulator.

Low-pressure year

“In what proved to be a low-pressure disease year, a three-spray approach would have been fine given that Bolton was very easy to manage. As we went through the spring and into early summer we saw no disease signs.

“A small amount of brown rust in winter wheat didn’t appear in the Bolton crop at all. The only negative I recall was a slight yellowing of the crop after heavy rain in March and April – but that sorted itself out once we got into May.”

The Bolton was harvested on 26 July. Average yields were over 9t/ha with grain samples looking very good, says Mr Booth – although he concedes that the variety wasn’t really tested when it came to disease resistance this year.

“It looks robust, certainly standing well during heavy rain and windy conditions prior to harvest, giving the impression that it’s resistant to lodging.

“It produced lots of stiff straw with no major difference in yield performance on either light or heavy ground.”