Hybrid Barley Agronomy Advice

Our top 8 reasons for growing Hybrid Barley... it's a hybrid barley thing!

  1. Yield – high and stable
  2. Reliable specific weight
  3. Grass weed suppression
  4. Ideal entry for winter oilseed rape
  5. Early to harvest
  6. Strong alternative to 2nd wheat
  7. Flexible disease management
  8. Extra income from straw

Seed Rate and Drilling Date

Drilling your Hybrid Barley

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 mat 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/mwill improve establishment in a late drilled situation

Hybrid barley can be drilled until the end of October if conditions are suitable, please consult seed rate table

Canopy Management

Once you have successfully established your hybrid barley crop you should focus on growing the canopy and maintaining green leaf area for as long as possible.  To do this you need to ensure you optimise your nitrogen, fungicide and PGR programmes.  Typical Syngenta programmes are summarised below.

Fungicide Applications

Disease pressure will be influenced by many factors each season.  It is important to consider location, weather, variety and drill date when assessing disease risk for each crop. 

Disease resistance profiles of the hybrids are good with most varieties showing a high level of resistance across the spectrum of barley diseases. Fungicides will also maintain cell wall strength and turgor pressure which can help to reduce brackling later in the season. 

It is important to remember that hybrid barley varieties have much larger flag leaves than conventional crops and will benefit from both T1 & T2 applications of fungicide. 

If you are growing BELMONT, BAZOOKA & SY KINGSBARN they will benefit from a good brown rust programme.  

Whilst varieties such as SY THUNDERBOLT have excellent mildew resistance, care should be taken to monitor varieties such as BELMONT and BAZOOKA and a specific mildewcide may be required if disease becomes established. 

Note: T0 (GS25-30): *TCZ (tebuconazole) for brown rust. #Add specific mildewicide if disease established PTZ = prothioconazole. *Please consult a BASIS qualified advisor for specific advice for each field

PGR Applications

Lots of factors will impact lodging risk in a crop. It is important to consider location, weather, green area index, drill date, soil type, variety and seed rate. Crops of hybrid barley will benefit from the application of a 3 spray PGR programme aimed at promoting rooting, thickening stem cell walls and reducing crop height.

All of the hybrids on the 2022/23 AHDB Recommended List show a good response to PGR programmes, with an average of 8% reduction in height between untreated and treated varieties.

Note: *chlormequat at approx. 50% dose rate; various products and formulations exist ** Avoid later applications after GS39 (especially high risk if the leaf sheath has split and the ear is visible).  Please consult a BASIS qualified advisor for specific advice for each field.

Nitrogen Applications for Hybrid Barley

Nitrogen prices are extremely high this season and it may be appropriate to consider a reduction in nitrogen fertiliser use across all cereal crops.  The AHDB have produced a Nitrogen Fertiliser Adjustment Calculator. For more information follow the link below:  

Early Nitrogen is key for Hybrid Barley

Syngenta trials have shown that crops of hybrid barley will benefit from nitrogen applied in a 30:50:20 split, and that 50:50:0 is also a good alternative if the 3 split programme is incompatible with on farm workloads.  

An early application of nitrogen in spring, as soon as conditions allow, supports vigorous spring growth and drives grass weed suppression.  If a reduction in total nitrogen is being considered it is important not to compromise the rate and timing of the first split on a crop of hybrid barley.

*consult a FACTs qualified advisor for specific advice for each field

Hybrid Barley at Harvest

Harvesting your Hybrid Barley

Maximising yields of high-quality grain at harvest can best be achieved by focusing on nitrogen, PGR, and fungicide inputs, reducing the risk of lodging, brackling, and disease. 

Once the crop is ready for harvest optimising combine setup is a very important step especially as hybrid barley may be the first crop harvested in the season.  It is important to remember that factory settings are only the starting point!

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.

Grain quality

Specific weights for modern hybrid barley varieties are comparable to (or exceed) conventional 2-row varieties in official trials. 

Hybrid grain quality: equivalent to 2-row feed varieties

Source: AHDB Winter Barley Recommended Lists 2004/05 to 2022/23. Data shown for hybrids vs 2-row feed varieties

Grass Weed Management

Grass Weed Management

Grass weeds, such as herbicide resistant black-grass, can be a headache for many winter cereal growers. 

Hybrid barley provides an important tool in the armoury when it comes to the fight against grass weeds.  Hybrid barley has been independently scientifically proven to suppress black-grass and reduce seed return and is a fantastic cornerstone of an integrated pest management approach.  

Grass Weed Suppression

Grass weed Suppression

Over the past few years we have shown that hybrid barley can be an integral part of your strategy for managing grass weeds. Trials have shown that hybrid barley offers better suppression of black-grass, brome, and ryegrass than winter wheat and 2-row winter barley. This benefit, uniquely powered by hybrid vigour is a common feature of all of our hybrid varieties – it’s a hybrid barley thing!