Just one variety, the six-row hybrid Volume from Syngenta Seeds, has been added to the 2009/10 HGCA Recommended List for winter barley.

A feed type it offers 2% more than the previous highest yielder, Bonus, and combines it with very good specific weight.

“At 68.5kg/hl that’s not quite as good as Sequel’s, but it’s still pretty good and overlapping the two-rows,” says Peter Hanson of the RL team.

“Its disease resistance package is what we’ve really come to expect from a hybrid – very good for rhynchosporium and net blotch and mosaic virus resistance. But it’s a bit weak on brown rust, and its mildew rating at 5 is a little on the low side.”

In the only other significant change from 2008/09, Carat becomes specifically recommended.

“The barley crop committee felt that the UK treated yield of Carat is now well behind the yield of Retriever. But Carat has characteristics that growers find useful which only that variety has,” says Mr Hanson.

“Early maturity is up there, but it does include short straw, large grain and mosaic virus resistance.”

Despite plenty of candidates for recommendation none except Volume made it for two main reasons, he believes.

Neither of the two potential quality varieties, Jungle and Daybreak, proved to be so after Institute of Brewing and Distilling tests.

“And Retriever has set a very high standard of yield for two-row feeds. So for a two-row feed to be recommended it’s got to outyield Retriever or yield around it and have other characteristics which make up an economic advantage.”

Pict is no longer recommended.