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Spring barley varieties show strong and consistent results for Scottish Growers

Agronomy Issues

Now that there is visibility of the AHDB harvest 2020 results, the true performance of Syngenta’s spring barley varieties in Scotland can be seen.  It has been a challenging season but there have been consistently good yield results in official trials, reinforcing the genetic potential of these varieties even in a difficult year.

Laureate continues to demonstrate its ability to perform in difficult situations.  Its 2020 mean treated yield sits just above its 5 year average and its performance on farm remains very competitive.  As for most spring barley varieties, there are some reports of pregerm and sprouting where there was uneven ripening within the crop due to the weather conditions.  Laureate matures slightly earlier than some other varieties in the market, and in some cases was in the field longer between maturity and harvest this year.

The new Recommended variety for the distilling market, SY Tungsten, has also performed very well in 2020 Recommended List (RL) trials.  It again demonstrated its consistency and yield potential in this difficult year, and is currently the highest yielding distilling variety on the AHDB RL.  SY Tungsten is Provisionally Approved for distilling (and brewing) by the MBC and will be undergoing macro pilot tests from harvest 2020 with the view to gaining Full Approval in spring 2021.  SY Tungsten has got great support from Scottish end-users and will be a great addition to variety choice for Scottish growers alongside Laureate for the future.

Syngenta results from 3 years of Scottish trials show the impact of nitrogen inputs on both yield and % grain N.  Laureate achieves lower % grain N for the distilling market, and increased yield, over Concerto – thus making it easier to achieve maximum grain yield whilst securing the low grain nitrogen required for maltsters.  There are strong indiciations that SY Tungsten will perform in a similar way to Laureate in nitrogen trials.  More data on this will be available later in the year.


Overall, Laureate will continue to be the most popular variety for maltster purchases from harvest 2021.  SY Tungsten is a close second and has great interest from end-users, giving another great option for growers and maltsters for harvest 2021.