Surge Winter Barley

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• A very high yielding winter barley
• Medium height, stiff-strawed
• Excellent disease resistance
• Earlier harvest benefits


SURGE is a true winter barley bred in the UK by Syngenta. It requires vernalisation and time for tiller development therefore is only suitable for autumn sowings. It performs best from earlier sowings in late March and April to take advantage of its high tillering habit and disease resistance, especially to scald.


In FAR and Cropmark Seeds Ltd trials in previous seasons, SURGE was the overall highest yielding winter barley on the market.

SURGE grain quality (7 trial mean)


Kernel weight (1000 seed weight) 51
Test weight (kg/hl) 64
Screenings (%) 2.7

SURGE produces a medium size grain of good test weight with low to moderate screenings.

Time of drilling

The optimum drilling time for SURGE is late March to late April. There may be some reduction in yield in early May, more so on dryland, lighter country and higher altitude areas. From early May sowings, yields will tend to decrease but will be similar to spring barley planted at this time. However, its superior disease resistance makes it an alternative to spring barley for early May planting. By mid-May the grower should switch to a spring barley like RGT Planet, SY Transformer or Tavern. On drier country where summer moisture stress is expected, this cut off can come in late April or the first week of May.

Speed of development

Month planted

Typical heading dates for SURGE in Canterbury

Late March Late October
Mid April Early November
Early May Mid November

SURGE is a cultivar with early to mid-maturity at harvest.

Seed rate and tillering characteristics

SURGE winter barley is able to produce a large number of tillers. It will produce around 25 tillers per plant by the end of tillering but reduce to 7-10 per plant at harvest. In comparison to other varieties, it will produce more tillers than Cassia and Padura, but less than Sanette or Tavern. Based on limited trial data, the optimal sowing rates are as follows.

Month planted

Establishment rates for SURGE (plants/m2)

March – Early April 120 – 150
Mid April 150
Late April – Mid-May 175

Soil type, rotation and geography

SURGE can be planted on all soil types where barley is already grown and can be grown as a first- or second-year cereal. As a second-year cereal, barley is generally more take-all tolerant than wheat, however, yield will be lower than a first-year barley crop.

Disease resistance

SURGE has an excellent disease resistance profile and is mostly resistant to scald, net blotch and powdery mildew. It is moderately resistant to leaf rust. Some diseases may be present in late winter on older leaves, but this will disappear with new spring growth. Considering this disease profile, fungicide programmes should be tailored for the control of Ramularia. Please contact your PGW Representative for site specific recommendations.

Disease resistance results:


PGW disease nursery ratings
(9 highly resistant, 1 highly susceptible)

Scald 9
Net blotch 7
Leaf rust 6
Powdery mildew 8

Straw strength and height

SURGE is a medium to tall cultivar with good straw strength and stand-ability, however, it can brackle on ripening. Due to its high yield potential, it will require a moderate plant growth regulator (PGR) programme focussing on early season stem strength and late season height reduction to prevent lodging or brackling. The actual programme is determined by a combination of sowing date, seed rate, nitrogen use, crop thickness and yield potential. As with any cultivar, do not apply if the crop is under any form of stress. Please contact your local PGW Representative for site specific recommendations.