The performance of winter barley varieties in the presence of Barley Yellow Mosaic Virus(BaYMV) and Barley Mild Mosaic Virus (BaMMV)


Cereals & Oilseeds
Project code:
01 September 1998 - 31 December 2002
AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds.
AHDB sector cost:
£57,860 from HGCA (Project No. 2075).
Project leader:
R. OVERTHROW Arable Research Centres, Manor Farm, Lower End, Daglingworth, Cirencester, Glos. GL7 7AH and M. ADAMS Rothamsted Research, Harpenden, Herts AL5 2 JQ



About this project


In four seasons from 1998/9 to 2001/2, a number of winter barley varieties were sown at two sites uniformly infected with barley yellow mosaic virus, and barley mild mosaic virus respectively. The levels of virus infection, in both resistant and susceptible varieties, were monitored, along with the grain yield, which was then related to the infection levels recorded.

Levels of infection in susceptible varieties varied from one season to the next, although symptoms were never recorded in resistant varieties.

Throughout the project the highest yields tended to come from the resistant varieties, although some susceptible varieties gave yields comparable to these despite showing relatively high levels of infection. Examples were Fanfare, Intro, Opal and Haka.

There were no consistent interactions between the susceptible varieties and the individual virus present. Previous work had shown that mild mosaic tends to be more serious than yellow mosaic virus on malting varieties and vice versa for feed varieties. However, in this trial series the relative yields of susceptible varieties were often similar for both virus sites and were not related to variety type.

Vanessa, a feed variety, showed no symptoms in the mild mosaic trials, but did in the yellow mosaic trials. However, the levels in the latter trials were not high enough for such differences to be shown in yield.

This project has highlighted the importance of variety choice in controlling barley mosaic viruses, although the relative performance of resistant varieties was different to that seen in conventional, non-infected trials. Therefore, reference to these may not always give an indication of the likely performance of a resistant variety on infected land, although any resistant variety will still be expected to outyield a susceptible variety in the same situation. 

In addition the project has identified varieties that are susceptible and show virus symptoms, yet do not appear to suffer the same yield reductions typically seen in susceptible varieties. Such varieties could widen the choice available to a grower with virus-infected land.