12th September 2022

Exciting new Non-GN, dual use spring barley’s secure top position on 2015-16 Recommended List

Octavia the first of these high yielding non-GN varieties, offers yields at 104 % of control over the five year mean, with particularly good performance in the north and east; 3% over Odyssey in the east and the north – and these are clearly important figures as these are the areas where most spring malting barley is grown, points out Mark Glew, senior barley breeder with Limagrain UK.

Agronomically Octavia that is earlier maturing than several of the main distilling varieties (+1). This shorter strawed variety (73cm), also offers very good disease resistance, with a 9 for mildew, 7 for yellow rust and 5 for brown rust, and an impressive 7 for Rhynchosporium.

Mr Glew points out that Octavia is a variety with exceptional hot water extraction – the best on the list which should not be underestimated as this is a very desirable trait for distilling highlighted by the market leader, Concerto.

Octavia has potential for malt distilling and brewing and is already in trials in France having performed well to date.

Olympus is a potential Belgravia replacement, offering a step up in yield (105%); that is 3% over Odyssey, but more significantly 9% above Belgravia. In the north specifically, Olympus out yields Odyssey by 4% and Belgravia by 10%.

“Olympus has a very good disease resistance profile – showing an improvement over Belgravia with a 9 for mildew, 7’s for the rusts and 6 for Rhynchosporium. It is shorter in height (74cm) than Belgravia but with similar straw characteristics and ripening,” says Ron Granger, arable technical manager for Limagrain.

“Quality wise it has a good grain quality and specific weight and low screenings. Olympus has the potential for malt and grain distilling.”

Sienna is an exciting variety offering a 2 % higher yield than Odyssey at 104 %. “Its robust disease resistance profile underlines its high untreated yields and the variety has similar straw attributes (78 cms) as Concerto with the same ripening date (+2),” says Mr Granger.

Quality-wise the variety has excellent specific weight (70.9kg/hl) combined with low screenings. Mr Granger adds that it is important to note that specific weight is becoming an increasingly important characteristic for malting so this is a valuable characteristic for a dual purpose variety, pointing out that Sienna has the best specific weight of all the varieties on the new HGCA RL.

“With its nice, bold sample, low screenings and good hot water extraction characteristics Sienna has potential for distilling and brewing.”

The fourth of the varieties to join the Recommended List, Deveron, has proven itself to be consistently high yielding over seasons and regions with 105%, which is a 3% yield advantage over Odyssey.

“Deveron is a short strawed variety (70cm) with very good lodging resistance and straw attributes combined with a ripening date similar to Concerto. The variety offers a good disease resistance profile with a better rating (5), than Concerto for Rhynchosporium.”

Mr Granger adds that Deveron has the potential for malt distilling, combined with a good specific weight with acceptable screenings.

Will all four varieties have a place in the market? Mark Glew believes that the market will decide which of these varieties will survive.

“When we launched Odyssey, Overture and Chronicle we left it to the market to decide where the varieties would fit and the market very clearly chose Odyssey – we plan to do the same with these new additions that have been added to the HGCA RL – and we look forward to the feedback we will receive in the process.”

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