Up to 150 barley growers could be in line for cash back from Syngenta, with 8,000ha of its hybrid barley eligible under its yield guarantee.

Initial statistics show that out of the 550 barley growers who applied for the company’s yield guarantee scheme, about 100-150 are eligible for the £60/ha cashback.

The guarantee was offered to growers across the UK if a 0.5t/ha yield advantage in hybrids wasn’t achieved over conventional varieties in Syngenta’s regional reference sites closest to the growers farm.

See also: Hybrid barley proves useful tool against blackgrass

The guarantee

A £60/ha refund on Syngenta’s Hyvido hybrid barley varieties if:

  • The hybrid barley crop does not generate 0.5t/ha extra yield versus conventional varieties based on Syngenta trials
  • Syngenta’s isopyrazam fungicide (such as Bontima) and the company’s branded trinexapac-ethyl growth regulator (Moddus) are used
  • The seed rate is 200-260/sq m or 70% of conventional rates
  • First nitrogen split on, at or before GS25 with a minimum of 60% of total nitrogen dose applied at or before GS31

How growers can claim

  • Registered growers will be informed via email before the end of September if they are eligible to make a claim
  • Letters and claim forms will be posted to eligible growers before the end of September 2014
  • Completed claim forms and supporting documents (to shown that protocol was followed) must be returned to Syngenta before midnight, 31 October 2014.

To ensure their eligibility, growers were required to follow a specific agronomy programme, which included using the company’s own fungicides and plant regulators.

Syngenta’s James Taylor-Alford, says the first year has proved a success and shows there is a genuine guarantee for farmers which will help them build in a degree of risk management on farms.

“In total there are 8,000ha of hybrid barley under the offer eligible for a claim, which is about 10% of the total hybrid barley area.”

For the 8,000ha that are eligible for a claim, the average yield advantage of Syngetna’s Hyvido hybrid barley versus conventional varieties across all of the sites was 0.35 t/ha.

“This meant on average we missed our 0.5 t/ha target on these sites by only 0.15 t/ha,” he explains. “But I would say 98% of the barley that is eligible will still have shown an improved performance over the conventional varieties.”

Favourable conditions this harvest saw high barley yields across the board, which narrowed the gap between conventional and hybrid varieties, according to Dr Taylor-Alford.

However, he highlights that Hyvido barley still outperformed conventional varieties by an average of 0.59t/ha across all the trial sites in the scheme.

Syngenta is now notifying eligible farmers and Dr Taylor-Alford expects the company to pay out roughly 80% of the total suitable for a claim, admitting things can go wrong throughout the season, with some growers not sticking to the guidelines.

“We have been clear in our communication and what people needed to do to stay in the guarantee. But, inevitably, there will be some who didn’t have the right info and didn’t follow the right agronomy programme.”

The cashback yield guarantee is already being rolled out for the coming season, using the same criteria and Dr Taylor-Alford hopes the recent results will encourage more growers to take up the offer.