The Program

The Sabbi program is a SMART breeding (Selection with Markers and Advanced Reproductive Technologies) program that is based on a conventional breeding program that incorporates Marker assisted selection and Doubled haploid production. The program goal is to develop brand aligned barley varieties with superior:

  • Yield Potential
  • Disease resistance
  • Stability
  • Malting quality
  • Agronomic characteristics
  • Breweing quality

More Info About the Program:

The program started in 1978 when Sensako began evaluating available commercial varieties in the Southern Cape. The goal of the program was to evaluate as many varieties as possible from abroad in order to find a variety or varieties, which could be successfully cultivated in the Southern Cape barley producing area of South Africa.

Results of the introduction program indicated that the majority of varieties from abroad are not suitable to the growing conditions of the Southern Cape. Because of the lack of success with the introduction program, a breeding program was started on a limited scale in 1983 and the program gradually developed to its present format.

A second production area was developed in the irrigation areas of the Northern Cape after intensive evaluation on variety adaptability and production practices by SAB Maltings. Production started on a small scale in 1994.

Varieties from, especially, Europe are fairly well adapted to this environment and our involvement in this area originally focused on the evaluation of introductions from Europe and other countries. Since 1994 the program expanded gradually to a full scale breeding program, although not yet on the same scale as the one for the Southern Cape.

Introductions are still being tested in both areas, and the majority of varieties from all the major barley production countries have been evaluated in the program.

During 2000 the program became part of an international enterprise when Sensako was taken over by Monsanto. They terminated all their barley activities at the end of 2001 and the program was taken over by SA Breweries Ltd. At the moment the program is continued under the name of the South African Barley Breeding Institute (Sabbi), an Article 21 company.

Dryland South Africa

  1. Western Rûens
    • – Caledon
    • – Greyton
    • – Rietpoel
    • – Tygerhoek
  2. Southern Rûens
    • – Napier
    • – Bredasdorp
    • – Protem
    • – Klipdale
  3. Eastern Rûens
    • – Napkei
    • – Swellendam
    • – Heidelberg
    • – Heidelberg vlakte
  4. Swartland
    • – Malmesbury
    • – Moorreesburg

Irrigation South Africa

  1. Central Irrigation
    • – Taung
    • – Hartswater
    • – Jan Kempdorp
  2. Southern Irrigation
    • – Rietrivier
    • – Douglas-Oos
    • – Douglas-Wes
    • – Orania
  3. Northern Irrigation
    • – Koedoeskop
    • – Beestekraal


    • – Lusaka
    • – Choma
    • – Kabwe
    • – Mkushi


    • – Kapchorwa Seasons 1 and 2


    • – Arusha
    • – Karatu
    • – Manyara


When the program started Clipper was the only variety cultivated, and cultivated very successfully, in the Southern Cape. We have released more than 9 varieties through our breeding program in two growing regions.


Sabbi’s Research and Development mission is to ensure sustainable barley production for the benefit of SAB, SABM and the producer through innovative R&D. Producers will need better quality, higher yielding and more resistant varieties.