When the program started Clipper was the only variety cultivated, and cultivated very successfully, in the Southern Cape. 

Ten varieties have been released from our breeding program in the Dryland growing region and seven in the irrigation region.

More Info About Varieties:

At present three varieties are recommended for malting barley production in the Southern Cape, viz. Kadie, Hessekwa and Elim. The malting characteristics of these cultivars differ especially in terms of their dormancy (period from harvesting up to the stage where the barley meets the germination requirements for malting), and for that reason the mixing of these cultivars must be prohibited at all costs. It is thus imperative that the different cultivars are transported, handled and stored separately.

As it is difficult to distinguish between some cultivars in the field, it is imperative that chances for mixing are prevented. The first possibility for mixing is on the farm itself. This can be prevented by not planting a different cultivar to the one planted on that land the previous year. Producers must also ensure that planters and harvesters are cleaned thoroughly before moving to a field with a different cultivar. The chances of mixing are also greatly reduced if only one cultivar is grown on a farm.

The retaining of grain as seed for the next year is strongly discouraged. The problems of maintaining cultivar-pure and insect free seed with good viability safely on the farm is the reason why seed should not be kept back by producers.

The barley cultivars Genie and Overture are at this point in time the only recommended cultivars for commercial production of malting barley under irrigation. The ratio of production between these two cultivars is revised on an annual basis.

The malting characteristics of these cultivars differ and for this reason the mixing of these cultivars must be prohibited at all costs. It is thus imperative that the different cultivars are transported, handled and stored separately.

Seed of both cultivars will be available at the local co-operative and only at the depots as communicated prior to the planting season. These cultivars are only allowed to be delivered at the depots as stipulated in the contract or as communicated beforehand. The seed will be treated with a fungicide as well as an insecticide. This is for the prevention of powdery mildew during the development stages (approximately 10 weeks) of the seedlings and also to prevent covered smut and loose smut, while the insecticide will protect the seed against insect damage for a limited period before it is planted.

Guidelines for the Production of Malting Barley Dryland

Barley is, after wheat, the most important small grain in South Africa. The cultivation area for malting barley under dryland conditions is at present restricted to a very specific region, viz. the Southern Cape, which stretches from Bot River in the west to Heidelberg in the east.

There are various advantages attached to the arrangement that production of a relatively minor commodity, such as malting barley, is restricted to certain and specific areas. Production is concentrated, which facilitates transport, storage and control. Extension and research are cheaper and facilitated more readily. The single most important disadvantage is, however, that the risk of unpredictable weather conditions cannot be reduced and therefore barley production has also been introduced to the cooler central irrigation areas.

Please refer to in the guidelines, downloadable in PDF format, that discussed the production guidelines of malting barley varieties.

Guidelines for the Production of Malting Barley under Irrigation

The effect of different production factors, of which variety choice, planting date, planting density, nitrogen fertilisation and irrigation are the most important, are integratedly reflected in the yield and the quality of the crop. The research programs running in the irrigation areas since 1991 were therefore aimed at identifying the most suitable variety with the optimum planting date, planting density and a nitrogen fertilisation application level that will ensure an economical optimum yield and grain conforming to quality specifications.

From the results obtained from the research program as well as experience from some commercial plantings in this area in the past, the recommendations in the downloadable PDF can serve as guidelines for the production of malting barley.


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.


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.