, Volume 197, Issue 2, pp 279–293 | Cite as

Performance of spring barley (Hordeum vulgare) varieties under organic and conventional conditions

  • A. KokareEmail author
  • L. Legzdina
  • I. Beinarovica
  • C. Maliepaard
  • R. E. Niks
  • E. T. Lammerts van Bueren


Organic agriculture needs spring barley varieties that are adapted to organic growing conditions and have good and stable grain yield across years, even under less favourable growing conditions. The aim of this study was to compare how varieties differ in yield and yield stability under conventional and organic management conditions. The results help to decide under which growing conditions selection of genotypes for organic farming can be most effective. Grain yield and yield components of 10 varieties were estimated in field trials for three years at four sites: two conventionally and two organically managed sites. Varieties differed in stability: some varieties had high yield under conventional conditions and relatively high and stable yield under organic conditions. Heritabilities for yield and yield components were lower under organic (especially in the field with low weed control) than under conventional conditions. Heritabilities for yield components were lower than those for yield itself. Selection for yield components, therefore, may be less effective than selection directly for grain yield. Our data showed that generally the top performing cultivars under conventional conditions also performed as the best under organic conditions, but there were also exceptions. Therefore we conclude that selection of genotypes for organic farming may take place under conventional conditions, but that a final testing should be conducted under organic conditions to confirm the suitability of the selected varieties for cultivation on organic farms.


Barley Heritability Organic farming Yield components Yield stability 



This study has been carried out within the framework of the EEA grant No EEZ08AP-27’’Elaboration of crop breeding strategy for organic farming”. The analysis of results and preparation of this paper was supported by European Social Fund co-financed project 2009/0218/1DP/

Supplementary material

10681_2014_1066_MOESM1_ESM.docx (62 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 61 kb)


  1. Agricultural Report 2012. Ministry of Agriculture. Information prepared by Latvian Ministry of Agriculture, 2012, (last accessed 16 October 2012)
  2. Alexander WL, Smith EL, Dhanasobhan C (1984) A comparison of yield and yield component selection in winter wheat. Euphytica 33:953–961CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Atlin G, Frey KJ (1990) Selecting oat lines for yield in low productivity environments. Crop Sci 30:556–561CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Aycicek M, Yildirim T (2006) Heritability of yield and some yield components in bread wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) genotypes. Bangladesh J Bot 35(1):17–22Google Scholar
  5. Banzinger M, Cooper M (2001) Breeding for low input conditions and consequences for participatory plant breeding: examples from tropical maize and wheat. Euphytica 122:503–519CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Becker HC, Geiger HH, Morganstern K (1982) Performance and phenotypic stability of different hybrid types in winter rye. Crop Sci 22:340–344CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bernardo R (2002) Breeding for quantitative traits in plants. Stemma Press, Woodbury, pp 161–165Google Scholar
  8. Bezant J, Laurie D, Pratchett N, Chojeckiv J, Kearsey M (1997) Mapping QTL controlling yield and yield components in a spring barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) cross using marker regression. Mol Breeding 3:29–38CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Calderini DF, Slafer GA (1999) Has yield stability changed with genetic improvement of wheat yield? Euphytica 107:51–59CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Ceccarelli S (1994) Specific adaptation and breeding for marginal conditions. Euphytica 77:205–219CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Ceccarelli S (1996) Positive interpretation of genotype by environment interaction in relation to sustainability and biodiversity. In: Cooper M, Hammer GL (eds) Plant adaptation and crop improvement. CABI Publishing, Wallingford, pp 467–486Google Scholar
  12. Eberhart SA, Russell WA (1966) Stability parameters for comparing varieties. Crop Sci 6:36–40CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Finlay KW, Wilkinson GN (1963) The analysis of adaptation in plant breeding program. Australian J. of Agricultural Res. 14:742–754CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Forsberg G, Kristensen L, Eibel P, Titone P, Hartl W (2003) Sensitivity of cereal seeds to short duration treatment with hot, humid air. J Plant Dis Prot 110(1):1–16Google Scholar
  15. IFOAM, 2013. Definition of organic agriculture. (last accessed.18 January 2013)
  16. Kokare A, Legzdina L (2006) Diversity of spring barley grown in Latvian organic farms and possibilities for its improvement. In: Østergård H, Fontaine L (eds) Proceedings of the COST SUSVAR workshop on cereal crop diversity: Implications for production and products. ITAB Press, Paris, pp 96–99Google Scholar
  17. Lammerts van Bueren ET, Østergård H, Goldringer I, Scholten O (2008) Preface to the special issue: plant breeding for organic and sustainable, low-input agriculture: dealing with genotype-environment interactions. Euphytica 163:321–322CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Legzdina L, Bleidere M, Praulina O, Gaile Z, Vigovskis J, Švarta A (2005) Performance of Latvian spring barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) varieties in conditions of organic farming. Latvian Journal of Agronomy 8:340–344Google Scholar
  19. Legzdiņa L, Gaiķe M, Gaile Z, Bērziņa I (2008) Testing results of spring barley variety ‘Rubiola’. Latvian J of Agronomy 11:94–101Google Scholar
  20. Löschenberger F, Fleck A, Grausgruber H, Hetzendorfer H, Hof G, Lafferty J, Marn M, Neumayer A, Pfaffinger G, Birschitzky J (2008) Breeding for organic agriculture: the example of winter wheat in Austria. Euphytica 163:469–480CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Lueck L, Schmidt CS, Cooper JM, Hall CM, Shotton PN, Leifert C (2006) Effect of organic, low-input and conventional production systems on yield and quality of winter wheat. Asp of Appl Bio 80:135–140Google Scholar
  22. Mason H, Goonewardene L, Spaner D (2008) Competitive traits and the stability of wheat cultivars in differing natural weed environments on the northern Canadian Prairies. J Agric Sci 146:21–33CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Murphy KM, Campbell KG, Lyon SR, Jones SS (2007) Evidence of varietal adaptation to organic farming systems. Science Direct Field Crops Research 102:172–177CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Murphy KM, Dawson JC, Jones SS (2008) Relationship among phenotypic growth traits, yield and weed suppression in spring wheat landraces and modern cultivars. Field Crops Research 105:107–115CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Østergård H, Kristensen K, Jensen JW (2005) Stability of variety mixtures of spring barley. In: Goldringer I, Ostergard H (eds) Lammerts van Bueren ET. Proceeding of the COST SUSVAR/ECO-PB. Workshop on Organic Plant Breeding Strategies and the Use of Molecular Markers. Louis Bolk Institute, Driebergen, pp 28–30Google Scholar
  26. Perkins M, Jinks JL (1968) Environmental and genotype-environmental componentsof variability. III. Multiple lines and crosses. Heredity 23:339–356Google Scholar
  27. Przystalski M, Osman AM, Thiemt EM, Rolland B, Ericson L, Østergård H, Levy L, Wolfe MS, Burshse A, Piepho HP, Krajewski P (2008) Do cereal varieties rank differently in organic and non-organic cropping systems? Euphytica 163:417–435CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Pswarayi A, van Eeuwijk FA, Ceccarelli S, Grando S, Comadran J, Russell JR, Pecchioni N, Tondelli A, Akar T, Al-Yassin A, Benbelkacem A, Ouabbou H, Thomas WTB, Romagosa I (2008) Changes in allele frequencies in landraces, old and modern barley cultivars of marker loci close to QTL for grain yield under high and low input conditions. Euphytica 163:435–447CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Rajaram S, Braun HJ, van Ginkel M (2006) CIMMYT’s approach to breed for drought tolerance. Euphytica 92:147–153CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Reid TA et al (2009) Should spring wheat breeding for organically managed systems be conducted on organically managed land? Euphytica 169(2):239–252CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Ryan MH, Derrick JW, Dann PR (2004) Grain mineral concentration and yield of wheat grown under organic and conventional management. J Sci Food Agric 84:207–216CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Strazdina V, Bleidere M (2004) Cereal varieties for organic farming in Latvia. In Lammerts van Bueren, E.T., R. Ranganathan & N. Sorensen (Eds), Proceedings of the 1rst World IFOAM/ISF/FAO Conference on Organic Seed—Challenges and opportunities for organic agriculture and the seed industry, Rome, Italy, 5–7 July 2004. IFOAM, Bonn, Germany, pp 186–187Google Scholar
  33. Ülker M, Sönmez F, Ciftci V, Yılmaz N, Apak R (2006) Adaptation and stability analysis in the selected lines of tir wheat. Pak.J. Bot. 38 (4):1177–1184.
  34. Vlachostergios DN, Roupakias DG (2008) Response to conventional and organic environment of thirty-six lentil (Lens culinaris Medik.) varieties. Euphytica 163:449–457CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Wolfe MS, Baresel JP, Desclaux D, Goldringer I, Hoad S, Kovacs G, Löschenberger F, Miedaner T, Østergård H, Lammerts van Bueren ET (2008) Developments in breeding cereals for organic agriculture. Euphytica 163:323–346CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Yin X, Struik PC (2008) Applying modelling experiences from the past to shape crop systems biology: the need to converge crop physiology and functional genomics. New Phytol 179(3):629–642PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Yin X, Chasalow SD, Stam P, Kropff MJ, Dourleijn CJ, Bos I, Bindraban PS (2002) Use of component analysis in QTL mapping of complex crop traits:a case study on yield in barley. Plant Breeding 121:314–319CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Zecevic V, Boskovic J, Dimitrijevic M, Petrovic S (2010) Genetic and phenotypic variability of yield components in wheat (Triticum aestivum L.). Bulgarian J of Agricu Sci 16(4):422–428Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Kokare
    • 1
    Email author
  • L. Legzdina
    • 1
  • I. Beinarovica
    • 1
  • C. Maliepaard
    • 2
  • R. E. Niks
    • 2
  • E. T. Lammerts van Bueren
    • 2
  1. 1.State Priekuli Plant Breeding InstitutePriekuliLatvia
  2. 2.Plant Sciences Group, Wageningen UR Plant BreedingWageningen UniversityWageningenthe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations