12th September 2022

Rodney Habgood – barley breeder obituary

Rodney attended Brunel University gaining a BTech in applied biology, and followed this by completing his PhD at The University College of Wales, Aberystwyth in 1969. Shortly after he joined the Welsh plant breeding station as research officer working on cereal disease research and then in 1973 moved into barley breeding.

Rodney joined Nickerson RPB at Rothwell in 1984 to be responsible for 2-row winter barley breeding under the guidance of Dr Paul Gymer and was later to become senior barley breeder. Rodney Habgood NEWS

He had many notable achievements over the course of his career, introducing breakthrough varieties like Torrent with Barley Yellow Mosaic Virus (BaYMV) resistance, which has now almost become the norm in all winter barley varieties. The development of varieties like Fighter and Jewel allowed Limagrain to move away from a dependency of winter barley agency varieties from other breeders, and the later entry of Pearl and then Cassata into the winter malting market saw the Limagrain market share in this area rise above 50%.

Rodney and his barley team were pioneers in developing non-glycosidic nitrile (GN) varieties for the distilling industry which is now a prerequisite for that market. This laid the foundations for the huge success that Limagrain has enjoyed in spring barley during the last seven years.

Rodney leaves behind a widow Yvonne and a son Matthew. His funeral takes place at Grimsby Crematorium on Friday 9th September at 12.20 pm.

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