14 June 1996

New winter barley hits hurdle, but…

MUCH-HERALDED new winter barley Fanfare has failed to gain full malting approval from the Institute of Brewing. But it is expected to succeed after further testing this summer.

Although it passed malting and brewing trials, Fanfare continues to give variable dormancy results, says the IoB.

"There always was some doubt as to which way the result would swing," says the IoBs Robin Pirie. "On balance, we decided to do a few more tests."

Those will be carried out after harvest; results are expected by the end of September. "Fanfare will be given full approval if tests are positive. On past experience, I am fairly sure it will get that approval."

Breeder Zeneca Seeds is optimistic. "We are not particularly disappointed," says marketing manager Alan Armstrong. "We support the need for additional testing if that is what the IoB says.

"There is enormous support in the industry for this variety. We have 6000t of C2 seed this year, most of which has been snapped up."

Farmers can plant with confidence, Mr Armstrong maintains. Other varieties, notably Triumph, also started off with dormancy problems, he says. "It takes time for maltsters to learn to manage a variety – until then newer varieties should be collected off-farm later to avoid problems."

Ivan Bishop, grain trader at Allied Grains Diss, Norfolk, branch sold all his Fanfare on buy back contracts. "Without that maltsters confidence we would not be involved if there was a question mark over a variety. We would not want growers to end up with an unsaleable crop."

Other varieties have succeeded. Melanie is fully approved as a malting variety for all UK regions, joining current trio Halcyon, Pipkin and Puffin. Angora and Regina receive provisional approval country-wide.

, although Gleam failed to make it – again, dormancy was the main problem.

In the spring sector, Optic is fully approved for the whole country; Delibes for north-east and north-west regions, where it is suited to grain whisky production. Tankard has provisional approval for the same area.

Winter varieties:

&#8226 Melanie – full approval.

&#8226 Angora and Regina – provisional approval.

Spring varieties:

&#8226 Optic – full approval.

&#8226 Delibes – full approval for north-east/north-west.

&#8226 Tankard – provisionally approved in north-east/north-west.

&#8226 Derkado full approval restricted to north-east/north-west.

&#8226 Cooper provisional approval withdrawn in Scotland.

&#8226 Sprite removed from list.