Brackling evident in some Spartacus CL barley crops

Grain Central January 17, 2022

Some crops of Spartacus CL barley (right) have experienced brackling as in issue which had minimal effect on other barley varieties including Maximus CL (left), as shown on Matt Rhodes’ farm in Victoria’s Northern Wimmera last month. Photo: Intergrain

WITH Australia’s winter-crop harvest now all but over, Spartacus CL has shown itself to have experienced brackling in some areas at a greater incidence than other varieties.

Brackling is different from either lodging or head loss, and involves kinking or buckling of the stem at or near the upper node.

It affects the top third of the plant, and typically occurs as the straw dries out.

This form of straw weakness is due to both genetic and environmental effects.

“There are a number of hypotheses as to why this has been an issue, particularly in the northern Wimmera and Mallee this season, but no conclusive answers,” Intergrain said in a statement.

Paddock reports indicate varieties have different susceptibility to brackling.

“Spartacus CL appears to be more susceptible to brackling whilst Maximus CL appears to be one of the improved varieties in side-by-side trial observations.”

“Spartacus CL has very good head retention…but can suffer considerable yield loss when brackled, as it is difficult to get all crop into the header front, with some heads falling below the cutter bar.”

Genetically, there is little correlation between brackling and traditional head-loss susceptibility.

However, brackling can result in head loss caused by heads remaining on the straw if harvest conditions are challenging.

Lodging, head loss and brackling are all different and varieties need to be rated for each of these traits separately.”

“Given differences in varietal susceptibilities to brackling, lodging and head loss, it is important to know a variety’s rating for each of these traits when choosing a variety.”

A summary of these traits as observed in InterGrain internal trials and the 2021 Victorian Crop Sowing guide indicate that Maximus CL is considered a significant improvement compared to Spartacus CL for brackling, and is generally considered to have a relatively low risk of lodging and head loss.

“Commodus CL has a lower brackling risk than Spartacus CL, although has a moderate head loss and lodging risk, especially in higher yielding environments.

“When making your choice about a variety, it’s about weighing up what characteristics you need from your variety and what yield you are expecting.”

Barley Australia puts out annual lists for growers of barley varieties to indicate those preferred, accredited or both by domestic and export malting markets.

Spartacus CL is a preferred variety, while Maximus CL is an accredited variety and Commodus CL is under evaluation.

Intergrain is one of several companies supplying seed to Australian growers.

The WA Government owns 62 per cent of the company, with the Grains Research and Development Corporation owning the balance.

Source: Intergrain, Barley Australia


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