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Choosing your winter barley varieties: a closer look at specific weight

Hybrid Barley
Hybrid Barley Field

Stick to the basics when selecting a feed variety

With the barley harvest well underway in Scotland, many growers and agronomists are thinking ahead to their variety choices for this autumn.  Yield, both in terms of high yield and consistent yield, is often a key driver for variety choice.  In addition, high specific weight is a critical character too, although, the other key characteristics should not be ignored (especially disease profile, lodging resistance and ripening date) which can all have a major impact on crop management throughout the season.  It’s therefore worth taking the time to weigh up all the options and choose the variety that is right for you.

Hybrid barley varieties all offer high specific weights

Market research has shown that improved grain quality, and higher specific weight especially, is a key feature for Scottish cereal farmers.  In recent years, our breeding programme has focussed on this key trait and only selected the varieties that offer the winning combination of high yield and high specific weight.  This strategy has been extremely successful: the average specific weight of the latest generation of hybrids is now equivalent to the two-row feed varieties.

Furthermore, all of our hybrids are in the top 75% of the feed varieties on the Recommended List.


So, if you pick any one of the hybrid barley varieties, you will be sure to get a variety that offers consistently high yields, with improved specific weight, as standard.

In addition, once the crop is planted, there are some simple steps that you can take to unlock the full potential of your variety.  Early nitrogen applications, coupled with appropriate fungicide and PGR use, can all help to drive higher yield and specific weight. 

 The best hybrid barley varieties for Scotland

Our top 5 variety picks for Scotland are:

  • Consistently high yielding in the North
  • Good specific weights
  • Performs well on light lands
  • Good resistance to wet weather diseases

  • Consistent 5-year average high yields
  • Excellent disease resistance
  • Consistently high specific weights

  • Outstanding yield and specific weight
  • Early maturity
  • Good wet weather disease resistance

  • Very high yields
  • Good wet weather disease resistance
  • Flexible agronomics

  • High yields and high specific weight
  • Early maturing
  • Good all-round disease resistance

You can find further information on each individual variety at, or alternatively, speak to your local Syngenta contact.

In conclusion, there’s almost certainly a hybrid barley variety that’s right for you!