Winter barley fields are seeing quality moving up a notch. Two-row varieties are bridging the gap on KPH with old favourite Cassia and the six-row varieties are also seeing a rise in KPH with a reading of 72.4 reported on SY Canyon, which is not yet a candidate variety for the recommended list.

Barley yellow dwarf virus (BYDV) remains a hot topic, particularly with the high levels of infection in winter and spring crops this year.

KWS Joyau, which claims tolerance to BYDV, is reaching high yields and there are more varieties coming down the tracks.

However, some of these varieties are not meeting certain requirements at present, with one unnamed variety which claims resistance falling down on lodging.

This is often the case. A variety with good scores for one characteristic can fall down on another. Many will think of the winter wheat variety Stigg, which had good resistance to Septoria, but fell down on grain quality.

There are currently 13 winter barley varieties planted for seed for the 2022-23 season and there are plenty of new varieties on the way for next season, while a host more are in the running to make it to the recommended list in seasons to come.

Belmira, Bordeaux and SY Armadillo are all candidates for 2023. KWS Joyau, KWS Tardis and Valerie are provisionally recommended.


Bordeaux, a two-row variety, is hitting the high notes on KPH at 71.2. It’s coming up to the standards of Cassia. Bordeaux was at 102 and 103 for relative yield in the Department of Agriculture’s trials in 2021 and 2020.


However, it is scoring low on resistance to lodging and is reported to be somewhat susceptible to ramularia.


Belmira is a two-row variety and reached relative yield scores of 104 and 105 in Department trials. It’s reported to be good on ramularia and rhynchosporium and has a KPH of approximately 68.5.

SY Armadillo

ST Armadillo is hitting about 125cm in height. It was standing well after heavy rain at the Irish Seed Trade Association’s open day on the Department of Agriculture’s Backweston Farm.

SY Armadillo.

SY Armadillo.

At that event, Séamus Kearney of the Department commented that it stood out on resistance to brackling in 2021.

KWS Joyau

Joyau is provisionally recommended and is reported to be tolerant to BYDV but the 2021-22 season is the first proper test of this and the combines will tell all on yield. The six-row variety has good grain quality with a KPH of 70.6. It’s good on brackling and while it is somewhat susceptible to rhynchosporium it looks to be good on ramularia.

KWS Tardis

In the provisionally recommended varieties KWS Tardis is reaching similar yield levels to six-row varieties. It’s strong on lodging and has a KPH value of 71.5. So far, it looks good on resistance to rhynchosporium and net blotch.

Varieties to watch out for

SY Canyon is a six-row hybrid variety with a KPH of 72.4.

It was reported to be one of the better varieties on ramularia and some Septoria nodorum was seen in Department trials in Kildalton.

LG Zebra is a six-row variety. It was fully headed out on 4 May this year and in trials last season it had a relative yield of 103.

KWS Feeris.

KWS Feeris is a six-row variety which claims BYDV tolerance. It has good grain quality and in 2021 it had a relative yield score of 107.

However, reports suggest that it may have an issue with straw strength but time will tell and that may be addressed in other ways.