Serving the Farming Industry across East Anglia for 35 Years
Two hybrid winter feed barley varieties with enhanced protection against two key cereal diseases have been launched by Syngenta for planting this autumn. Hybrid barleys have benefits against major diseases

• Good scores mean enhance protection

• Seed available for planting this autumn

• More hybrid varieties are on their way

Two hybrid winter feed barley varieties with enhanced protection against two key cereal diseases have been launched by Syngenta for planting this autumn.

With a UK treated yield of 105%, SY Nephin scores 8 out of 9 for rhynchosporium resistance – the highest rating for winter barley on the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board Recommended List for 2023-24.

Stablemate SY Buzzard has a treated yield of 104% on the AHDB winter barley Candidate List. It is the first Syngenta hybrid barley with tolerance to barley yellow dwarf virus (BYDV), says Syngenta seeds technical expert Ben Urquhart (pictured left).

“Rhynchosporium is the number one damaging fungal disease of winter barley, causing yield losses of over 1.5 t/ha as well as having the potential to impact grain quality,” says Mr Urquhart. “BYDV, which is transmitted by aphids, can cause winter barley yield losses of up to 50%.

“Both SY Nephin and SY Buzzard provide the hybrid vigour benefit of hybrid barley – which is associated with high and stable yields, vigorous rooting and competitive growth against a range of grass weeds. But they also bring other benefits.”

As well as scoring 8 against rhynchosporium, SY Nephin had a high untreated yield of 90% of treated controls on the recommended list – as well as a high specific weight of 71.4 kg/hl and resistance to barley yellow mosaic virus (BaYMV).

“Strong rhynchosporium resistance offers growers potential breathing space if fungicide sprays are unavoidably delayed.”

SY Nephin has also shown good rooting – and produced superior crop establishment to a conventional six-row winter barley after both no-till and deep-till cultivations. Relatively short-strawed compared to other hybrid varieties, it looks straightforward to grow.

Risk management

Mr Urquhart says growers should consider SY Buzzard in areas at higher BYDV risk; in fields where delaying drilling to reduce aphid numbers is not possible; and on farms seeking the £45/ha Sustainable Farming Incentive payment by growing the crop without insecticide.

“Growing a BYDV tolerant barley is an important part of an overall strategy to manage BYDV risk. In Syngenta trial plots inoculated with BYDV-infected aphids to create high disease pressure, SY Buzzard showed only mild virus symptoms and suffered minimal yield loss.

Other agronomic benefits include rhynchosporium and net blotch resistance ratings of 7 and 6 respectively on the AHDB Candidate List, resistance to BaYMV nd low levels of lodging and brackling.

“SY Buzzard has performed particularly well in the eastern region,” says Mr Urquhart.

For this autumn, while SY Nephin seed will be widely available. But SY Buzzard is in limited supply. That said, its launch marks the start of a pipeline of Syngenta hybrid barley varities with BYDV tolerance.

“Ever since we launched hybrid barley we have been improving the crop’s agronomic characteristics,” says Mr Urquhart.

“As well as improved disease tolerance, a big success has come from breeding hybrid barley with higher specific weights. Around one in three winter feed barley fields are now planted with a hybrid.”