Preliminary Results from Small Grain Trials

Bob Uniatowski, Associate Scientist;

Preliminary results from the 2009 Delaware Small Grain Trials are available online at

During 2008-2009, 48 wheat (including 7 experimental), 9 public barley (1 experimental) varieties were tested at three locations, and 5 winter oat, 6 rye, and 4 triticale varieties at one location in Delaware. These trials are conducted according to the policies and procedures of the University of Delaware Agriculture Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension. This publication reports the results of the Delaware Small Grain Performance Trials.

In 2009 private entries – entered voluntarily by the owner – were accepted after meeting eligibility requirements. Public entries were solicited from universities and crop improvement associations. No verification has been made that the seed (grade or quality) entered is the same as that offered for sale. Plans and rules for entering these trials are available, upon request, to anyone. The author will contact persons wishing to enter the 2010 Delaware Small Grain Performance Trials in September 2009.

How Best to Use Small Grain Result Information
1. Select the test location that best represents your production location(s). Small grain varieties are widely adapted across Delaware, but certain soil or climatic condition, cultural practices, or insect/disease problems can change yield results, and may limit the choice of varieties.

2. Multiple-year averages across the greatest number of years are probably the best predictor of performance. Additionally, averages that combine locations for a single year may be a better predictor of performance than data from a single location.

3. When using long-term averages, select the variety or varieties that you are best acquainted with, or are currently utilizing on your farm and use these as “benchmarks” when comparing new varieties.

4. Obtain additional information from your own farm observations, neighbors, local seed dealers, company seed catalogs, and other variety trial information conducted on Delmarva. Use this accumulated information to compare new or promising varieties with your benchmark varieties.

The performance of a variety cannot be measured with absolute precision. Uncontrollable variability exists whenever yields are determined using field studies. This variability may occur because of small differences in soil such as fertility levels, moisture holding capacity, sand or gravel intrusions, and many related and unrelated conditions. When selecting sites, uniformity is of the utmost importance; frequently the factors or conditions contributing to variability cannot be identified with the naked eye. Because variability exists in all field experimentation, statistics are used as a tool to assist in making decisions when comparing varieties. The statistical tool used in these trials is the test of least significant difference (L.S.D.), computed at a 5% level of probability. The L.S.D. is very simple to apply. When two varieties are compared and the difference between them is greater than the L.S.D., the varieties are judged to be significantly different. An example for yield: variety A yields 90 bu/A, variety B yields 81 bu/A and the L.S.D. is 7 bu/A, therefore variety A is said to be significantly better.

Another statistical tool is called the coefficient of variability (%C.V.). It is a measurement of uncontrollable variability due to differences in the soil, weather, fertility, etc. C.V.s below 15% are considered good.

Table 1. Performance Trial Methodology


New Castle County

High Organic Sussex County

Sussex County

Planting Date November 4, 2008 November 4, 2008 October 30, 2008
Harvest Date      


July 7, 2009 June 30, 2009 June 22, 2009


July 7, 2009 June 30, 2009 June 29, 2009
Population 25 seeds/ft. of row 25 seeds/ft. of row 25 seeds/ft. of row
Soil Type Silt loam Sandy Loam Loamy Sand
Reps 4 4 4
Row Spacing 7.5” 7.5” 7.5”
Previous Crop Corn Corn Corn


300# 6-18-36   30#N

Early spring

40#N 40#N 40#N

Late spring

60#N 60#N 60#N
Herbicide 0.5 oz. Harmony Extra 0.5 oz. Harmony Extra 0.5 oz. Harmony Extra
Insecticide 3.2 oz. Warrior 3.2 oz. Warrior 3.2 oz. Warrior

(to view tables go to linked web site)

New Castle County Small Grain Trial Results
Barley – Table 2:
Yields ranged from 73.8 (GrowMark FS-950) to 39.4 (Eve – a hulless variety) bu/A Test weights were from 52.0 (Eve a hulless Barley) to 34 lbs/bu. There was significant differences for yield, test weight, and plant height, lodging was moderate in all plots. Thoroughbred had the highest 2 year (101) and 3 year (99) bu/A average.

Wheat – Table 3:
Of the 47 entries entered in the trial, 21 were not significantly different from the leader (Va.-Exp. VA04W-90). Yields ranged from 74.1 (Va.-Exp VA04W-90) to 43.5. Test weights ranged from 58 to 47 lbs/bu. There were significant differences for yield, test weight and plant height. Lodging was only a minor problem in some varieties.

High Organic Matter Soil (Sussex County) Small Grain Trial Results 
Barley – Table 4:
Thoroughbred was the only variety that was significantly different from the others. Yields ranged from 69.8 (Thoroughbred) to 36.9 bu/A. Thoroughbred was also ranked 1st, 1st and 5th in the pooled site ranking for the state. Test weights ranged from 57 lbs (Eve a hulless variety) to 40lbs. Yield, test weight, and lodging were also significantly different.

Wheat – Table 5:
Yields ranged from 64.4 (USG 3555) to 27.2 bu/A. with a L.S.D. of 7.5 bu. Test weights ranged from 62 to 55 lbs/bu. There were significant differences for yield, test weight and plant height. Lodging was not a problem at this location.

Sussex County Small Grain Trial Results
Barley – Table 6:
Three of the nine varieties were in the L.S.D. range of 8.5 bu/A, yields ranged from 78.7 (Thoroughbred) to 51.1bu/A (Eve). Yield, test weight and plant height were also significant. Lodging average was 1.8 on a 0 to 9 scale.

Wheat – Table 7:
Fourteen of the 47 varieties in the trial were not significantly different from the top yielding variety (DynaGro 9922). Yields ranged from 76.4 (DynaGro 9922) to 48.7 bu/A. Significant differences are also reported for test weight, and plant height. Lodging was not a problem for this test.