Top-yielding hybrid may attract heavy land barley growers

The highest-yielding hybrid winter barley variety on heavy land will be widely available for drilling this autumn, with the added benefit of being the earliest to harvest.

The six-row Thunderbolt from breeder Syngenta, which gained a place on the AHDB Recommended List late last year, shows a yield advantage over all other hybrids on strong land, but is slightly weaker in the straw.

Hybrid barleys make up about 35% of the 350,000ha of winter barley in the ground, and this total winter crop area could rise this autumn due to high current feed barley prices.

Paul Roche, the group’s seeds technical manager, says heavy-land farmers can expect a 1.06t/ha yield lift compared with control varieties on the Recommended List, and this will mean an extra £191/ha at current barley prices.

“Thunderbolt stands out for its high yields on heavy land, in combination with its good grain quality,” he told a company briefing.

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