Cereals 2023: Limited seed for hybrid barley with virus tolerance

There is a limited amount of seed available for the first hybrid barley variety with tolerance to barley yellow dwarf virus, which is up for recommendation later this year.

Buzzard, which is bred for UK conditions, is the first in the pipeline from Syngenta offering tolerance to the virus.

See also: Soil virus prompts move to resistant winter barley variety

Syngenta hybrid barley technical expert Ben Urquhart says Buzzard has the same gene as Feeris, which is on the Recommended List, but in a hybrid, bringing the benefits of increased vigour.

He believes it could prove valuable for those looking to sign up to the soon-to-be-announced insecticide-free Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) stewardship option.

For those who aren’t cashing in on the option, it still offers flexibility in terms of drilling date and spraying timings for those who have to drill early and so are at higher risk from the disease.

It has a yield of 104% and a specific weight of 69.7kg/hl. It scores 7 for rhynchosporium resistance, 6 for net blotch and 5 for brown rust.

Ben says where there is barley yellow dwarf virus present, “you don’t see any yield loss”.

“In inoculated trials, you see a yield of 104% and the same in non-inoculated plots. Without the gene, you would see a reduced yield.”

This is the first variety in a pipeline and he says they are seeing promising contenders that have yields closer to the top performers.

Variety Nephin

Variety Nephin © MAG/Richard Allison


For growers looking at other diseases, Ben points to newly recommended variety Nephin, which also has a two-row level of specific weight. 

The Recommended List figure of 71.4kg/hl makes it the second-highest of the six-rows and puts it higher than 12 of the 14 two-rows on the list.

For disease, it offers the highest resistance to rhynchosporium with a score of 8, on a scale of 1-9, where 9 shows the highest resistance. 

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