HGCA Recommended List preview: Winter barley

Crops asks variety experts which winter barley candidates are likely to make the 2008 HGCA Recommended List.

THE CANDIDATES

  • Actrice, Marcorel, & Wintmalt. (Zzoom, a potential candidate, was withdrawn by its breeder)

Only one variety looks to have a chance of making it to the list, a fact reflecting the decline in importance of winter barley, says Mr Williams.

Wintmalt appears an extremely strong candidate for addition, subject to malting trials results.

“While it’s susceptible to yellow rust, its standing power is rather better than Flagon’s, and BaYMV resistance will be a very valuable trait for committed malting barley growers.”

Mr Fenwick is less convinced: “With a yield 1% ahead of Flagon and 2% on Cassata it may get recommended, but all will depend on whether maltsters and brewers want it. Will they give a firm answer – they’re normally a bit wishy washy.”

Like Cassata it has BaYMV resistance, but poor mildew and yellow rust defences, he notes.

“It’s a borderline case. Is it really any advance on what is there already? Probably not.”

But Mr Stephenson sees it as “the pick of the bunch”.

In the feed category Actrice looks interesting, says Mr Williams. “It has very good resistance to rhyncho and net blotch coupled with strong untreated yield, which may make it a possible special recommendation for the west.”

But it has not been sown for 2008 trials, so its chances of recommendation must be low, says Mr Fenwick.

Marcorel, a conventional six-row, looks uncompetitive on yield, he adds.

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