The agronomic performance and nutritional content of oat and barley varieties grown in a northern maritime environment depends on variety and growing conditions

Andrew Chappell, Karen P Scott, Irene A. Griffiths, Alexander A. Cowan, Cathy Hawes, John Wishart, Peter Martin

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Warmer temperatures and increasing interest in high provenance food and drink products are creating new opportunities for cereal growing in northern Europe. Nevertheless, cultivation of oats and barley in these areas for malting and milling remains a challenge, primarily because of the weather, and there are few reports of their nutritional content from this region. In this study, trials in Orkney compared agronomic characteristics and nutritional content of recommended UK oat and barley varieties with Scandinavian varieties over three years. For a subset of varieties, nutritional content was compared with samples cultivated in more southerly sites. For Orkney, barley was considered a more suitable crop than oats because varieties matured earlier. In both crops, Scandinavian varieties matured earlier than UK varieties and some produced comparable yields. The range of values for macronutrients and minerals in oats and barley in Orkney were similar to those reported previously for other locations, but there were some significant differences attributable to variety and year. Compared with grain samples from more southerly locations, oats in Orkney had a significantly lower β-glucan and higher sodium content. The lower β-glucan may have resulted from higher rainfall and lower temperatures during the months of grain filling and maturation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Cereal Science
Early online date10 Jan 2017
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding for this research came from the Scottish Government's Rural and Environment Science and Analytical Services Division (RESAS) through their support for this Strategic Partnership project. We are also grateful to Ingvar Andersson at Lantmännen SW Seed AB for supplying seed of the Scandinavian varieties for the trials each year and to the seed merchant William Shearer (Kirkwall) for importing it. We are indebted to Grietje Holtrop from Biomathematics and Statistics Scotland for her help with statistical analysis. Andy Beer (The Royal Zoological Society, Edinburgh) performed all NIRS analysis and Gill Campbell (Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health) performed the mineral content analysis. The Centre for Sustainable Cropping platform is supported through Scottish Government Underpinning Capacity funding. The Agronomy Institute acknowledges support from the Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme's Northern Cereals project in preparing this publication.


  • nutritional content
  • Maritime environment
  • β-glucan
  • variety


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