Merchant offers distilling contract for Beluga

A buy-back contract for the soft Group 4 wheat Beluga has been launched by East Lothian-based grain merchant, W N Lindsay, this harvest.

Contracted growers are offered a £2/t premium for the variety, which will supply the Strathclyde Distillery in Glasgow.

Lindsay’s Peter Gray said the variety, which was new to the HGCA Recommended List in 2010/11, had been chosen due to its high alcohol yields and ease of processing qualities.

But he said it also offered growers high yield potential and stiff straw – the HGCA rated its north region treated yield at 103% of control and it was given a 9 for lodging resistance.

“Agronomically, it has many of the characteristics that the Scottish grower looks for, including early maturity,” he said.

He acknowledged that the low-protein, high-starch varieties preferred by distillers tended to sprout more easily than others, but said no such problems were seen in Beluga last year.

This autumn the firm was looking at testing a four-way blend of Beluga, Istabraq, Viscount and Alchemy, Mr Gray noted.

“Taking several varieties and mixing them together can help to give better results, meeting the distillers’ requirements and offering growers stronger traits, such as disease resistance.”

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