29 November 1996

Winter barleys top yield and top quality

BREEDERS ability to combine top yield and malting quality continues with the addition of Rifle to the winter barley Recommended List.

One of only three competing for the 1997 accolade, the Nickerson-bred variety joins the likes of Fanfare, Gleam and Regina.

"In terms of yield it is not quite up with Regina," says NIABs Richard Fenwick. "But it is competitive with Gleam and only just behind Fanfare. It really stands out in its range of disease resistance." Lowest rating (6) is against rhynchosporium.

Institute of Brewing confirmation of its 9 rating for malting is not expected until May. But tests suggest no problems with dormancy or other factors that can beset malting types, says Mr Fenwick. "It is a useful addition to the portfolio."

Of the other two RL candidates, Spices very weak straw and lateness counted against it, and Portrait was withdrawn by the breeder.

Other changes see Fanfare, recently fully IOB-approved for the central, south-east and south-west, fully recommended along with feed type Hanna. Melanie gains full special recommendation on account of its earliness and stiff straw. But the BaYMV resister Sunrise and the tolerant variety Sprite are becoming outclassed, according to NIAB.

The 20-strong winter barley list remains quite long and Mr Fenwick anticipates a shake-out in the next couple of years as the new breed of high yielding malters begins to dominate. "I expect we may see some of the pure feed varieties like Pastoral and Fighter begin to fade away."

Pure feed barleys like that being harvested here, will be increasingly displaced by high yielding malting types such as Rifle, says NIAB.



&#8226 Abbot (PG) – Potential bread-maker; yield 5% over Hereward.

&#8226 Charger (PG) – Added-value type; some bread-making quality.

&#8226 Equinox (PG) – Short, very stiff high yielding feed variety.

&#8226 Madrigal (RPG) – High yield soft miller; Riband partner in north.


&#8226 Rifle (PG) – Top malting quality with high yield.


&#8226 Krypton (PG) – Highest yielding naked variety.

&#8226 Lexicon (PG) – High yield naked, with stem eelworm resistance.

&#8226 PG & RPG = Provisionally Recommended for General and Regional Use, respectively.