After a bumper number of winter barley list inclusions last year, just two join this time round, both six-row feed-only types.

And bar one exception their overall disease resistances are good.

“Last year’s additions set a pretty high standard and many of this year’s candidates just didn’t quite match up,” says Peter Hanson of the CEL, the company running the Recommended List trials.

But even with five varieties dropped – Jewel, Pastoral, Regina, Sumo and Vanessa – there are still 17 to choose from.

Both newcomers offer treated output 5% above Sequel and within 1% of top-yielding hybrid Colossus, and both resist the common strains of barley mosaic virus.

Colibri, from Daltons, has a very strong disease resistance package, says Mr Hanson.

An early maturing conventional type, it scores eights against rhynchosporium and net blotch, the wet weather diseases which are so important in winter barley, he explains.

“However, there is a bit of a downside.

You could say Colibri is a step back in quality towards the old six-row varieties.

It combines a rather low specific weight with high screenings.

It’s a barn filler.

“Its straw is slightly shorter but weaker than Sequel’s so it will need managing.”

Boost, the second hybrid from New Farm Crops/Syngenta Seeds, stands better than its stable companion Colossus.

It also represents an improvement in disease resistance over that variety, particularly against mildew, yellow rust and net blotch.

Its specific weight is also better, nearly matching that of Sequel and Pict, and it has shorter, stiffer straw.

“With a four for brown rust it is still susceptible, but it is still an improvement on Colossus,” says Mr Hanson.

It is also slightly earlier than Colibri.

“The whole package is very positive.”