Concerto‘s high yield and suitability for both malt distilling and brewing means it is gaining favour from spring barley growers in Scotland, Steve Hoad, SAC’s cereals specialist said at a SAC/HGCA workshop in Aberdeenshire.


The variety, a newcomer to the HGCA recommended list last year, won provisional approval from the Institute of Brewing and Distilling, and maltsters were happy with the high spirit extract being achieved in trials, he said.

“Concerto is very similar to Optic but offers the potential of a significant yield improvement and is suitable for a range of marketing options.

“Its weakness is rhynchosporium which means the crop will have to be managed very carefully.”

Concerto has received a rating of 103 for yield in Scottish trials compared with 97 for both Optic and Oxbridge.

“Optic will continue to be widely grown and is the benchmark for assessing the performance of any new varieties. But both yield and quality have been disappointing,” said Dr Hoad.

Forensic, also rated at 103 for yield, is a high nitrogen barley suitable for distilling. It was also likely to prove popular as a replacement for Decanter, Dr Hoad said. It also has a disease weakness for rhynchosporium, and mildew and late-season ramularia will need to be protected against.

Belgravia is viewed as a promising new variety for the low nitrogen distilling market. Although not as high yielding as Publican it was better than either Optic or Oxbridge, Dr Hoad pointed out. It has particularly good disease resistance ratings and has achieved high yields in untreated trials.

The high yielding Propino, suitable for brewing but not distilling, was expected to find favour in that market, while for the feed and export market, Waggon was likely to take off because of its high yield – 109 in trials – and good yield of straw, he said.