For breeding hybrid barley varieties SAATEN-UNION uses cytoplasmic male sterility (CMS), a system in which the female inherits sterility. The female parent is reproduced by crossing it with the so-called maintainer.
In order to obtain a 100 % fertile hybrid the female parent is crossed with a male restorer line, a parent that carries a restorer gene. New female parents are created by a repeated backcrossing program of a variety or advanced elite line with a CMS donor. The restorer lines are created by crossing an existing restorer line with an advanced elite line. New restorer parents are selected and fixed in the resulting segregating populations of this cross.
Hybrid barley breeding is complex, time consuming and future-orientated. The hybrid barley breeding at SAATEN-UNION has started 15 years ago. In the year 2005 Ackermann Saatzucht has begun with first crossings and the production of CMS (cytoplasmic male sterility) hybrids. In 2013 ASUR Plant Breeding with its headquarters in France took over the breeding activities. This was a crucial step towards new high-performance hybrid barley varieties.