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More options are available for farmers looking to grow hybrid rye, with a number of new varieties coming  to market. The crop is increasingly... Hybrid rye catches eye of first time growers

More options are available for farmers looking to grow hybrid rye, with a number of new varieties coming  to market.

The crop is increasingly popular for farmers looking to reduce input costs, widen rotations to control blackgrass or combat take-all. It is also an important component in pig rations and a key energy crop for biogas production.

Hybrid rye offers straw yields of around 4-5t/ha – almost 2t/ha more than wheat or barley. 

Launched in 2018 by German breeder Saaten Union, SU Bendix is a key hybrid rye variety for agronomy company Agrii, says Ben Lowe, the firm’s forage product manager.

Consistent yields, nitrogen efficiency and better return on nitrogen to protein conversion has made SU Bendix a popular choice. “It ticks all the agronomic boxes and, with excellent grain quality, the highest protein content and high yield consistency.”

Elsoms Seeds energy and forage crop manager Henrietta Wells says greater nitrogen efficiency and lower requirements for fungicides and water make its carbon footprint lower than many other crops. 

Elsoms has 40% of the UK hybrid rye market, with variety SU Performer accounting for 80% of its total UK hybrid rye sales. The pipeline on new varieties also looks strong with seed availability for both SU Arvid and SU Pluralis in 2021.

New on the winter rye descriptive list for 2021/22, SU Arvid achieved excellent methane output in silage from farmer based whole crop trials set up to mirror the anaerobic digestion (AD) process, says Ms Wells.