Monday, November 2, 2009
Convention Center, Exhibit Hall BC, Second Floor
Hulless barley is viable feedstock alternative to corn for ethanol production in areas where small grains are produced. The first barley-based ethanol plant in the US is currently under construction by Osage BioEnergy LLC in Hopewell, VA. New hulless winter barley varieties developed by Virginia Tech are achieving starch content in excess of 60% (compared to corn’s 72%). Enzymatic breakdown of beta-glucans in barley further boosts ethanol yield. Corn is not well adapted to dryland production systems in the Southern Plains of the US. Winter barley can be produced in place of winter wheat without any added investment in equipment by producers. Barley is earlier maturing than winter wheat and can be more easily double cropped with sorghum another potential feedstock for ethanol production. Winter barley, like winter wheat, can also be grazed. Greenbug and Russian wheat aphid are common pests of barley in the southern plains. Resistance to these two aphids would be an advantage for barely producers. Twenty five hulless winter barleys developed for the eastern US, 6 developed for Texas, and 760 hulless winter barleys from the USDA-ARS National Small Grains Collection were evaluated for adaptation to Oklahoma. Seven hundred and seventy four winter barley germplasm lines resistant to both RWA and greenbug, developed by the USDA-ARS in Stillwater, were also evaluated at two locations in Oklahoma. Promising hulled and hulless parents were identified and a breeding program was initiated in the spring of 2005.