Scots urged to use Cellar
SPRING malting barley growers in Scotland rely too much on a single variety and are being urged to consider more earlier-maturing Cellar.
With the demise of Chariot and Prisma maltsters have been taking more and more Optic, says SAC cereals specialist David Cranstoun, using 429,000t last year.
"It worries me that we are so dependent on a late variety." Late harvests in Scotland often lead to skinned samples and heavy discounts, he says. "We have too many eggs in one basket, but there is not a lot of room to manoeuvre."
Chalice is liked by some distillers but not others. "Consult your merchant before you book your seed," warns Dr Cranstoun.
With nothing outstanding in the pipeline for at least two seasons, that leaves Cellar as the most suitable choice to replace the 100,000t gap left by declining uptake of Chariot and Prisma.
Maltsters had a good chance to evaluate Cellar, which is earlier than Optic and all other options. They used 1000t last year.
"The good news is that malting is no problem." Scottish distillers too are expected to give it the thumbs up. "In England it already has full IGB approval."
Cellar matches Optic for output in Scotland and outyields it over the whole of the UK. Unlike Chariot it resisted splitting well in last years bad harvest.
The main concern is combining. "Cellar is earlier than Optic but it is a bit prone to brackling. So if the weather looks dodgy, and you have the chance, give Cellar priority." *