Hybrid winter barley out-yields conventional varieties

Syngenta will not be liable for any compensation payments to growers for the 2016/17 season after its hybrid winter barleys comfortably out-yielded their conventional counterparts.

Under the terms of the Hyvido cashback guarantee scheme, growers who signed up could have claimed £60/ha if conventional varieties had yielded more than 0.5t/ha than hybrids at their nearest trial plots.

However, the independently verified results show that varieties such as Bazooka, Belfry and Sunningdale came in at 0.94t/ha more than their conventional counterparts.

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Conventional comparison

They were being measured against Tower, Glacier and Cassia, which were selected as the conventional comparison varieties for the third year in a row as they are the top varieties by market share.

This is the fourth year that hybrid varieties have exceeded conventional yields, but Syngenta seeds and seedcare campaign manager Mark Bullen acknowledged that a significant portion of the additional income will go in higher seed costs.

He said that the average cost for a hybrid variety is around £100/ha, but added that growers are also selecting them for their agronomic benefits such as early maturity, which is helping to bring forward oilseed rape establishment.

He also claimed that their high vigour can be part of the toolkit to help beat blackgrass by shading out grassweeds.

After running for five years, this is the final year for the cashback scheme, which will not be open for new applicants next season.

Mr Bullen said that they are confident that hybrids have stolen the lead and they have a promising pipeline of varieties to come, such as candidate variety Libra, which looks set to beef up specific weights.