Hybrid Barley Agronomy Advice
Seed Rate and Drilling Date
Aim to establish a uniform crop across the whole field (especially in a grass weed scenario). Typically, you should plan to drill hybrid barley at 200-250 seeds per m2 at normal drill timings (and select a seed rate at the upper end of this range in grass weed situations or tougher conditions).
The traditional window for drilling hybrid barley is mid-September to mid-October, and this still stands. However, delaying the start of drilling by a few weeks may be beneficial for BYDV and grass weed management.
Growers should always consider local circumstances and apply 'common sense' to their decision making
Increasing seed rates from 200 up to 250 seeds/m2 will improve establishment in a late drilled situation
Hybrid barley can be drilled until the end of October if conditions are suitable
All hybrids on the 2021/22 Recommended List have a rating of 7 or more for resistance to lodging. SY BARACOODA is the tallest variety at around 118 cm (untreated) and shows a good response to PGR programmes. A PGR, such as MODDUS, will help promote rooting early on and strengthen tillers whilst limiting height to reduce the risk of brackling. Disease profiles of the hybrids are very similar, so we would advise the fungicide programme opposite.
If you are growing BELMONT, BAZOOKA, SY BARACOODA & SY KINGSBARN they will benefit from a good brown rust programme, while BAZOOKA, BELMONT, LIBRA and SY ARMADILLO may benefit from the addition of a mildewicide. For major barley diseases such as brown rust that favour warm, humid weather, the use of ELATUS Era at T2 timing will limit the spread of infection.
Nitrogen Timing for Hybrid Barley
Harvesting your Hybrid Barley
Optimising combine set-up is an absolutely critical step as hybrid barley is often the first crop to be harvested. Factory settings are only a starting point! Straw prices rose markedly at the end of the 2020 season as straw yields were heavily compromised by the challenging growing conditions.
Recent trials have shown that hybrid barley varieties produce an equivalent amount of straw to conventional varieties despite their lower seed rate. This is an added benefit that could create extra value from the crop. Specific weights for 6-row barley varieties used to be a challenge. However, modern hybrid barley varieties have specific weights that are similar to, or even exceed, some conventional 2-row barleys.
Maximising yields of high quality grain at harvest can best be achieved by focusing on PGR and fungicide inputs, this will reduce the risk of lodging and maximise yield.
Grass Weed Management
Grass weeds, and herbicide-resistant black-grass in particular, are a headache for many winter cereal growers. Fortunately, hybrid barley offers a useful tool for suppressing black-grass populations, and reducing seed return, as part of an integrated approach. Indeed, many growers have realised these benefits on their own farms in recent years. Crops have done well and a lower level of seed return has reduced black-grass problems in following crops. Furthermore, we have now extended this grass weed suppression concept to ryegrass and brome. Our results have shown that hybrid barley will suppress both of these weeds too.