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New Oats and Barleys for Breakfast, Brewery or Barn

By Marcia Wood
August 30, 2001

An array of outstanding new oats and barleys for the West is coming from an Agricultural Research Service plant-breeding program based at Aberdeen, Idaho. The new varieties are intended for planting primarily in Idaho, Montana, Washington, Oregon, Wyoming or Colorado.

The program, regarded as one of the best of its kind in the nation, is directed by scientists at the ARS Small Grains and Potato Germplasm Research Unit at Aberdeen.

One new oat variety, Powell, produced greater yields than some leading commercial varieties when tested in Idaho and Wyoming. ARS scientists collaborated with Lyle R. Bjornestad of the University of Wyoming and with other colleagues in that state and in Idaho to develop Powell.

Other new oats are the hull-less varieties Lamont and Provena. There's interest in hull-less oats as high-quality feed for horses and dairy cattle. However, in the past, few if any hull-less oats have been well-adapted to the West. Now, Lamont and Provena could help change that.

Provena boasts good yields and impressive resistance to lodging. Lamont also resists lodging and is adaptable to a wide range of growing conditions.

Outstanding new barleys from the Aberdeen breeders include Garnet, for springtime planting. Garnet is proving ideal for malting and brewing. It is also suitable as feed for beef and dairy cattle. The Aberdeen breeders worked with ARS colleagues in Madison, Wis., and university cooperators, to develop Garnet.

Spring barleys like Garnet need moisture from rain or irrigation throughout the growing season. For nonirrigated farms in the West that don't get enough rain to consistently produce high-value malting barley, the Aberdeen team is working on new, winter malting barleys. One or two winter barleys may be ready for release to breeders and seed producers by 2002 or 2003.

An article in the August issue of the ARS monthly journal, Agricultural Research, tells more.

ARS is the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s chief scientific research agency.