© 2022, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature B.V.Semi-dwarf genes have been used to alleviate lodging and increase harvest index in barley. The present study was conducted to determine the effect of widely used sdw1.d allele on agronomic characters. The sdw1.d was transferred from cv. Triumph to cv. Tokak 157/37 using marker assisted backcross breeding, and a near-isogenic line was developed. Parents and Tokak + sdw1.d near isogenic line were evaluated in three rainfed, fall-planted and seven rainfed, spring-planted trials in Tokat province of Turkey. The sdw1.d allele in Tokak 157/37 background shortened plant height by 20–30 cm, decreased lodging by 40–60%, delayed heading time by 5–7 days, and produced 74–178 more spikes per square meter. On the other hand, sdw1.d reduced thousand-seed weights in most trials by about 3–5 g. However, sdw1.d produced greater seed weights in trials where precipitation was higher. Tokak + sdw1.d near isogenic line produced higher grain yields especially in fall planted trials with high rainfall. Due to its higher spike number per area and improved harvest index, Tokak + sdw1.d NIL merits further studies under different ecological and growing practices.