Background to the cereal recommendations
The information on cereal varieties presented on this website gives cereal growers a comprehensive guide to varieties best suited for use within Northern Ireland. It is based on results of trials carried out by the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute on behalf of DARD over the last five years as part of the Home Grown Cereal Authority (HGCA) UK Recommended List trialling system. The DARD Recommended List booklet complements and expands on information provided on varieties included in the HGCA Recommended Lists.
Spring barley and spring oat varieties are considered for provisional recommendation after two years of National List testing and one year of Recommended List testing. They generally remain provisionally recommended for two years before being eligible for recommendation for general use. Thus every spring barley and spring oat variety is tested for at least five years before it is considered for full general recommendation. Spring wheat varieties suited for use in Northern Ireland have been in one trial per year for at least three years.
Winter barley, winter wheat and winter oat varieties are in Recommended List trials for two years prior to being provisionally recommended. They too remain provisionally recommended for two years before being eligible for full recommendation. Thus, every winter variety is tested for at least four years before it is considered for full general recommendation.
Provisionally recommended varieties are reviewed each year. If after their first year of provisional recommendation they are considered unsuitable, they are removed from the list. If they remain provisionally recommended for two or more years before being found unsuitable, they are not usually placed in the outclassed category for a year before removing them from the list. If seed of any variety, regardless of category, becomes unavailable it is removed directly from the list.
The booklet is a local publication and directs growers towards varieties of greatest value to Northern Ireland, including only those HGCA recommended varieties most suitable for use in Northern Ireland. Spring barley and oat trials conducted in Northern Ireland also include some varieties from the Republic of Ireland that may be suited to Northern Ireland. The same consideration is given to these varieties, for local use, as those that pass through the UK system.
Several UK listed varieties are excluded from the tables because they are less suitable for use in Northern Ireland. A brief description of these varieties is given in the text.
Varieties are classified as follows:
G - Varieties fully recommended for general use
S - Varieties fully recommended for special use; clarification of which is given in the notes
P - Varieties provisionally recommended and of which seed may be in short supply
PS - Varieties which are provisionally recommended for special use; clarification of which is given in the notes. Seed of these varieties may be in short supply
O - Varieties becoming outclassed
Trials are conducted on varieties of all crops at AFBI Crossnacreevy with further trials of the major crops in the main cereal growing regions of Northern Ireland. At Hillsborough and Downpatrick there were additional winter barley trials in 2014 with additional winter wheat and winter barley trials at Limavady. Additional spring barley trials are conducted at Ballywalter, Strabane and Coleraine.