Announcing outstanding performance in Hybrid rye trials

Results recently published from independent trials in the UK and Germany demonstrate that SAATEN UNION and Elsoms Seeds’ Hybrid rye varieties offer the best performance consistency, even in a difficult year. SU PERFORMER, SU COSSANI, SU SANTINI and SU DRIVE were amongst varieties tested in the 2016 trials.

  • Hybrid rye after foraging

    Hybrid rye after foraging

  • Foraging of Hybrid rye

    Foraging of Hybrid rye

  • Elsoms hybrid rye trials in 2015

    Elsoms hybrid rye trials in 2015

Independent trials, Elsoms trials and farmer reports show:

• SU PERFORMER has the highest potential yield of any variety in the UK and European marketplace
• SU COSSANI has exceptional all round disease resistance
• SU SANTINI will outperform other varieties in harsh, drought prone, dry conditions

Hybrid Rye Trial Results 2016 Download 

Agrovista Independent Hybrid Rye Trial Results 2016

Hybrid Rye Agrovista Trials 2016

Craig Green, Agronomist & Seed Coordinator, Agrovista, commented:

"The Norfolk trials site was held at Fakenham (medium to heavy soil type) and Great Ellingham (light to medium soil type).  The trials demonstrated a range of eight varieties of Hybrid rye between the two sites, all of which are commercially available to growers in the UK. With a low light intensity season and plenty of rain, the superiority of the two Elsoms varieties was clear to see at both sites.

SU PERFORMER with its stiff stem, good disease resistance and prolonged growth, preferred the better bodied soil providing the highest yield at both sites. The SU PERFORMER could be visually picked out as a strong plant at the beginning of stem extension.

The SU PERFORMER’s yield was closely followed by its high-tillering cousin SU COSSANI.  SU COSSANI’s early tillering ability made the difference on plant density, capturing any nitrogen left over in the soil during the autumn before all the winter rain. The most notable effects were seen at Ellingham on the lighter land.

Both sites were treated with 100kg of N following a winter cereal crop and were both looking hungry towards the end of growth due to the wetter than normal season. The learning points we took away included the importance of early N application as soon as you can travel in February to build and retain tiller numbers, and the importance of spreading out harvest with different varieties such as SU NASRI. Rye in my area is often referred to as the “poor man’s wheat” but is quickly becoming the cash crop of a farm, and is in need of more attention to detail which starts with the correct variety, and the proper nutritional inputs."

Norfolk, UK, Hybrid Rye Trials 2015 - 2016

Hybrid Rye Norfolk Trials 2016

The on farm trials were situated near Fakenham, Norfolk.  Nitrogen application was a little low and applied later than recommended due to travelling conditions.  Samples were sent to NRM and Sciantec on the day of forgaging for analysis.  On the 1 to 9 scale for disease, high figures indicate that a variety shows the character to a high degree (e.g. high resistance).

Jonathan Baxendale, Elsoms Agricultural Seeds Sales Specialist, stated:

"While this year has seen a decrease in whole crop and grain yields for Hybrid rye, SAATEN UNION varieties have still stayed at the top of the data tables, and looked well in all field trials.  SU PERFORMER has looked high yielding and heavy through to harvest and SU COSSANI is still an exceptionally clean variety."

German Official Preliminary Hybrid Rye Results

German Descriptive List - Bundessortenamt Beschreibende Sortenliste

Hybrid Rye Results Germany 2016

Florian Heerdes, SAATEN UNION Hybrid Rye Product Manager contributed:

“Despite problems in Germany with the weather this year, we are extremely pleased with how our varieties have performed. Our breeders also appreciate the difficulties with weather and subsequently disease this year because it means lines which are selected are stronger going forward. SU PERFORMER and SU COSSANI are set to be the most popular for biogas again across Europe."

SU UK Official Grain Trials 2016

SU Independent Hybrid Rye Trials 2016

Richard Jennaway, SAATEN UNION UK Technical Director, commented:

"We have tested Hybrid and conventional rye at our trial sites for a number of years, for our own use and for independent data.  We have seen better yield results and resistance to disease from newer varieties SU COSSANI and SU PERFORMER compared to older varieties like SU MEPHISTO, SU DRIVE and SU PHONIX.  Brown rust came in late this year, SU COSSANI showed slightly better resistance than other varieties."

Crowland, UK, Trials 2015/2016

Crowland, Lincs, Hybrid Rye Trials 2016

The Crowland site was deliberately drilled on a very large scale to replicate on-farm scenarios.   The severe blackgrass pressure across all plots similarly reflected the issues currently facing UK farmers.

The trial was foraged at the same time as the rest of the farm that was planted with GENERATOR rye. GENERATOR is designed to be foraged from the middle of May until the beginning of June, therefore foraging on the 22nd June was approximately 10 days too early for the Hybrid rye.  The GENERATOR rye was the on-farm approach to combat Blackgrass with early foraging. While the GENERATOR results were impressive, the Hybrid rye out-yielded the conventional.

David Leaper, National Seed Technical Manager, Agrii, commented:

“A really impressive trial when I visited it earlier in the summer.  A big field, uniform soil and large strips drilled with commercial kit - you couldn’t ask for a better trial.  The crop was put under a lot a blackgrass pressure too; the typical situation where we are looking at AD rye to keep populations down and prevent seed return.  To top it all we are also seeing some really encouraging gains in brown rust resistance.” 

Blackgrass seeds were taken from a range of locations in the field on the day of foraging. These seeds were tested in the Laboratory and germination was 0%.

SU Innovative Breeding & Research

SAATEN UNION, backed up by innovative breeding research from Hybro, now have 53% market share in the Hybrid rye market in Germany, the largest Hybrid rye producing country in the world (2014-2015).  This is testament to the specialist innovative plant breeding and outstanding portfolio of genetics that SAATEN UNION have been developing over the last few years.   What's more, the standard is raised still further each year with the addition of new SU varieties onto the Descriptive List.

Turbo Hybrid Technology - SU Hybrid Rye

What we have learnt

Heather Oldfield, Energy and Forage Crops Manager at Elsoms, reflects: 

We have learnt a number of key points from UK data and growers and from European trialling and commercial experience: 

  • Optimum time for drilling is 15th September. Sowing rate should be 2.5 units  per ha. To achieve maximum yields, the seed rate should be increased by 10% every 10 days.  After mid October if the grower is wishing to use the Hybrid rye for wholecropping for AD, it is more financially viable to switch into Triticale.
  • Rye should not be drilled any deeper than 2cm because it has a weaker coleoptile than wheat and barley. 
  • It is key to apply fertiliser as early as possible in the Spring.  February is ideal should conditions allow.  Rye begins growing at far lower temperatures than other cereals.
  • Yield plateaus occur for Hybrid rye at approximately 180 kg N/ha. 
  • Samples of blackgrass seeds taken from the Crowland Trial DID NOT germinate in the laboratory.”

Colin Button, Seeds Manager Hutchinsons, added:

"The recent development of Hybrid rye as a feedstock crop for Anaerobic Digesters, now offers an alternative to the standard maize crop, and brings new opportunities for growers to spread the workload both for crop establishment and harvest.  This has introduced diversity to rotation and also increased the opportunity to tackle the blackgrass problem from a different angle.  Hutchinsons have been assessing the variety portfolio available to growers and have found the SAATEN UNION and Elsoms range of Hybrid Rye varieties and Forage  (non-hybrid) types very helpful in bringing variation in growth types and also the ability to compete with the  grass weed problem”. 

Best Hybrid Rye Varieties for the UK

Elsoms Energy Crop Manager, Heather Oldfield, and Dr Richard Jennaway, SAATEN UNION's UK Technical Director, work closely with SAATEN UNION's Bio Energy Division to ensure that the best as well as most suitable varieties are selected for the UK. 

Benefits of Using SU Hybrid Rye in the UK:

  • Impressive performance in all areas of the UK whilst maize can only be successfully grown in limited areas
  • Excellent crop for drought-prone or lighter soils due to the deep root sytem
  • Hybrid rye is a low input/high output crop
  • Significant improvement in performance of AD Plants when Hybrid rye and energy beet are included in the energy crop programme
  • Easily established in late Autumn and harvested in June leaving time to prepare land for the following crop
  • The early summer harvest allows time for a catch crop or even for double cropping
  • The long growing period and early summer harvest avoid variablity in yield and quality that can cause problems in shorter maize growing periods

 More information about Hybrid rye recommended rotations, agronomy information and our varieties specifically selected for the UK is available on the Hybrid Rye page

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