Arable News

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Barley with market flexibility

Ata recent field trials day breeders Limagrain UK confirmed its continuedemphasis on producing dual-purpose non-GN (glycosidic nitrile) barleys that offer flexibility ofmarkets.

Speaking at the event, Limagrain managing director,Lee Robinson assured the attending members of the seed trade that thedistilling market for spring barley remained a key focus for the company.

He acknowledged that Concerto which currentlydominates the malting barley market will be difficult to replace in the shortterm due to its quality. Over the last few years we have seen Concertocontinue to take market share and in 2014 the variety made up 67.3% of MAGBspring barley purchases in Scotland.

However he added that son of Concerto, Odyssey, hadproved itself to be a sound alternative and that this choice has been widenedwith the recommendations of new non-GN, dual purpose varieties Octavia, Siennaand Olympus.

Mr Robinson outlined that it was still unclearwhere these varieties would fit in the market place and that Limagrain wascommitted to extensive macro trialing of the varieties to help the market tohelp to guage the performance of the varieties for brewing or distillingdemands.

All of the varieties offer a step up in yield andagronomics from Odyssey pointed out Mark Glew, senior barley breeder withLimagrain.  Olympus is a high yielder across all regions of the UKproducing an average yield of 105, 4% above Odyssey and 10% above Belgravia inthe north. In 2014, the variety performed so well and yielded within 1% ofPlanet and Irina at 109.  If we see a yield like this again this year wewill be very excited about the prospects for the variety.

Important to note is that Olympus holds a nitrogencontent of 1.51%, well above Concerto (1.47%)  which gives the variety ahead start when aiming for the 1.85% needed for grain nitrogen.

With a grain and malt quality very similar toBelgravia, Olympus is targeted at the grain distilling market and currentlyholds IBD provisional approval for malt and grain distilling.

Sienna holds IBD provisional approval for maltdistilling and brewing. The variety performs very well in the north (104) andwest (105) and has the smallest difference between treated and untreated yieldsat 104 and 93 percent of controls respectively. This shows the robustness ofits disease resistance, added Mr Glew.

Sienna stands out with its high specific weight the highest for any variety on the recommended list an important feature for endusers as high specific weight means increased volume which is also importantshould the variety be used for feed.

Whilst Sienna is a tall variety, its has an 8rating for brackling and this puts it in a similar bracket to Westminster.

Octavia is competitive with the brewing onlyvarieties in England, yielding 106 in the east and 105 in the north says MrGlew. Octavia offers growers a variety that helps to spread the ripeningacross the farm it is earlier ripening than Concerto, so should be particularlyattractive to northern growers.

Octavia is the only variety with a higher hot waterextract (HWE) than Concerto and so far has produced low grain nitrogen intrials. Octavia has IBD provisional approval for malt distilling and brewing.

Mr Glew underlined the breeders commitment to nonGN barleys, demonstrated by the two candidate varieties currently inrecommended list trials. High yielding Ovation (108%) is the only non GN barleythat matches Planet for yield, so a very exciting offering. Origin, the secondof these is the stiffest candidate on the list, also with a high yield of 106.

Whilst high yield potential is key to the successof any new variety, the emphasis of our breeding programme reflects theincreasing importance of grain quality and we are beginning to analyse factorsthat bring consistency that is to produce varieties in the field that willperform across seasons and positions.

  • Written by: Farmers Guide
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