New spring barley variety Hurler has been knocking around the Goldcrop trial site for a while now, and 2024 has finally seen it come off the bench to enter into seed production.

It currently accounts for 5% of the spring barley seed area for 2025 and looks promising.

It scores a seven for resistance to rhynchosporium and net blotch. Straw quality is reported as excellent, with an eight for resistance to lodging and a seven for straw breakdown.

It’s one of the highest yielders in the pot at the minute, matching Geraldine in 2023, on a score of 106.

While we’re on the hurling puns, Belter is a while away from commercial growing, but as Goldcrop’s John Dunne said, it’s one to watch. We’ll keep a close eye to see if it’s playing in division one.

There is seed being grown for 14 varieties of spring barley for the 2025 season (see Table 1), so there is plenty of choice.

Two more big varieties making their way into the spring barley fields in bigger numbers this year are Florence and LG Mermaid. Both of these varieties have Planet in their lineage and are for malting.

Florence scored an impressive 110 on relative yield in 2021 and came in at 102 in 2023.

At the Department of Agriculture’s open day, Florence was described as “smashing” by Séamus Kearney and LG Mermaid as “a clean Planet." Planet is falling down on the net blotch at present.

LG Mermaid is looking low on resistance to lodging. Both varieties from Seedtech will take up 14% of the seed each.

Dominant variety

The large crowd that attended the Irish Seed Trade open day on the DAFM farm at Ballyderown, Fermoy, Co Cork looking at spring barley trials. \ Donal O' Leary (main picture)

Geraldine remains the dominant variety in spring barley, with 21% of the seed area, suitable for feed and malting, it scores an eight out of nine for resistance to net blotch and a seven for rhynchosporium.

At the Goldcrop open day, John Dunne noted that Geraldine wasn’t showing stress in the harsher conditions this year like other varieties and this is reported across the country.

It’s high on yield, with scores of 108, 103 and 106 in 2021, 2022 and 2023 respectively.

When it comes to straw, Strength SY Amity looks impressive, with a score of seven for resistance to brackling. Gretchen is another variety with strong straw characteristics.

Spinner is a malting and feed variety with Laureate in its lineage. It’s good on yield, with a score of 105 last year, and scores an eight for resistance to net blotch and mildew.

Lollipop and LG Aquarius are ones to keep an eye on. Lollipop has both Laureate and Planet as parents, with a good KPH level, and LG Aquarius is good on yield and has a score of 6.2 on brackling.

Planet is taking up 10% of the seed area and remains an important variety for the malting industry. It broke yields when it first came on the scene in 2017.

It now features in many of the new varieties’ parents. Gangway has been popular in recent years, but will exit commercial production this year.