Effects of the fungicide propiconazole on agronomic and quality traits of hulled and hulless barley.
The hypocholesterolemic effect of hulless waxy barley (Hordeum vulgare) has increased its use in food products. Hulless cultivars currently grown in the Upper Midwest US barley growing region are susceptible to a foliar disease, spot blotch (caused by Cochliobolus sativus), that can severely reduce yield. Spot blotch and grain blight generally occur in the eastern area of the region; thus, hulless barley production is limited to the western area. The objectives of this study conducted in North Dakota were to determine whether natural field infections of the pathogen responsible for causing spot blotch and partly responsible for causing grain blight similarly affect grain and flour brightness of hulled and hulless barley cultivars, and to determine whether disease control with propiconazole similarly affects agronomic and quality traits of the hulled and hulless cultivars. Propiconazole reduced spot blotch severity. This resulted in increased yield and yield components in hulled and hulless cultivars. Responses to propiconazole by the hulled and hulless cultivars were generally similar for spot blotch control, and similar for grain yield and 1000-grain weight. The reduction in spot blotch severity did not result in brighter grain or flour, nor did it affect mean total or soluble β-glucan content of hulled and hulless cultivars.