A new spring malting barley variety that could put growing for distilling on a par yield-wise with growing brewing varieties is making strong progress in industry testing, reports its breeder, Syngenta.
The new variety, Laureate, has among the highest treated yields for the North region and the UK on the AHDB Recommended List of spring barley for 2017, says Syngenta seed manager, Samantha Brooke.
It was also awarded Provisional Approval 1 for malt distilling and brewing uses on the Institute of Brewing and Distilling (IBD) approved list, harvest 2017, she points out.
And, with a large tonnage from the 2016 harvest also undergoing further end user tests, she says Syngenta hopes Laureate will achieve full IBD approval in these sectors this summer.
“Over recent times, the yield gap between brewing varieties and varieties used for distilling has become quite wide,” explains Mrs Brooke.
“Laureate is in a great position in that it offers high yields to growers and there is interest in the variety among both distillers and brewers.
“In the short term, distillers are probably the keenest for the variety because they have fewer varieties with full IBD approval for malt distilling to choose from.
“However, Laureate has produced excellent quality for both markets – with a high spirit yield for distilling and a high hot water extract for brewing. It has also performed well in both Scotland and England, and was very high-yielding across our trials in 2016.”
From the 2016 harvest, Mrs Brooke calculates that more than 14,000 tonnes of Laureate will be available for testing by end users in the UK this season. Normally, around 4,000 tonnes of a new variety might be tested at this stage of its development, she points out.
“We have put a lot of effort behind bringing Laureate to the market for growers. It is being developed for both distilling and brewing because the industry is moving back to wanting single varieties suited to both markets, which was a position held by Optic about 10 years ago.
“As well as domestic uses, Laureate is also being developed across Europe, just like the varieties Propino, Quench and Tipple before it. So we hope it will give growers in the UK access to export markets as well.
“Agronomically, Laureate has shown low skinning and screening levels and has an excellent combination of disease resistance and untreated yield. For the second year running Laureate also has the highest untreated yield figure of spring barleys on the AHDB Recommended List,” Mrs Brooke adds.