A brace of new, high-yielding hybrid winter feed barley varieties fromSyngenta has been added to the latest AHDB Recommended List for 2021/22.

“Newly-recommended hybrid, SY Thunderbolt shares similar attributes to the current popular hybrid barley, SY Kingsbarn,” pointed out Syngenta seeds technical manager, Paul Roche. “It is high-yielding, with a UK treated yield of 107% of control varieties on the 2021/22 AHDB RL, and has excellent grain quality with a specific weight of 69.6 kg/hl. It has also delivered strong yield performance in all regions and has particularly good mildew resistance.

“However, where SY Thunderbolt could be of particular interest is on heavy soil, where trials indicated it had the highest yield figure available on the new winter barley RL at 111% of control varieties. Good performance on heavy soils has become increasingly relevant over recent years as many farmers returning to winter barley are now growing the crop on heavier land.

“At the end of the season, SY Thunderbolt also proved early-maturing – one of only four varieties on the winter barley RL with a -1 score, which is earlier than two-row feed varieties on the list. Early maturity is especially useful to spread harvest workload and where growers want to get ground prepared and ready for following crops or to establish winter oilseed rape.

"Alternatively, an early harvest allows longer windows for stale seedbeds against grass weeds,” he added. Agronomically, it had strong all-round disease resistance, consistent with the high untreated yield.

It is also resistant to barley yellow mosaic virus, shows a good response to plant growth regulator application for managing straw height, and is a welcome addition to sister variety SY Kingsbarn and the other Syngenta high-yielding hybrid barley varieties, he notes.

The second, newly-recommended hybrid winter feed barley from Syngenta, SY Kingston, is another high-yielding, high specific weight variety, said Mr Roche. It had a UK treated yield of 107% on the 2021/22 AHDB RL and a specific weight of 69.7 kg/hl.

It had performed particularly well on lighter soil types and in the north and west regions: “We see SY Kingston as becoming a good choice for lighter or medium soils,” said Mr Roche. “Usefully for the north and west regions, SY Kingston is also early-ripening.

“It has also given excellent year-to-year yield consistency, has a high untreated yield, and offers a good all-round disease resistance profile, including resistance to barley yellow mosaic virus. It was also the highest-yielding variety in 2020 on the new RL, which may indicate greater varietal resilience to tough conditions.

“As more new hybrids come on to the market like these, growers have an expanded choice to suit different growing situations – for example lighter land or heavier land, different regions, and also where an early harvest is desirable,” Mr Roche concluded.