PEARL HAS strengthened its dominance of the UK winter malting barley market after maltsters decided to drop their approval for Regina and Diamond.

The variety provided maltsters with over 85% of their winter barley requirement from the 2003 harvest, according to Maltsters Association of Great Britain director general Ivor Murrell.

“If you want to grow a winter barley for malting, you‘re really looking at Pearl,” said Mr Murrell.

“It‘s a bit concerning that there are no new strong varieties coming through.”

After eight years on the Institute of Brewing list, maltsters announced on Thurs (June 10) Regina had been dropped from the 2004 list of approved varieties, due to poor uptake by growers.

Diamond, which previously had provisional approval, has also been dropped after the MAGB decided it “does not make the grade”.

New on the IOB spring barley list is Carafe, which now has provisional approval, while Cocktail gains full approval for the whole of the UK and Troon is now fully approved for the north.

“Troon is particularly useful for malt whisky,” commented Mr Murrell.

Optic, Chalice and Decanter retain full approval in the north, with Optic and Cellar are still favoured by maltsters for growing in the south.

Apart from Pearl, Fanfare is the only winter barley with full approval for the south only, although just 34,000 tonnes were bought from the 2003 harvest.

The full IOB list has been published on the MAGB website, while malting variety profiles will be available to growers from the HGCA stand at Cereals 2004.