Two sparkling barleys

10 May 2002

Two sparkling barleys

By Andrew Swallow

TWO newly recommended winter barleys launched last week could corner 10% of the seed market in their first year, believes breeder Nickerson.

Diamond is a specialist malting variety that made it on to the recommended list on appeal earlier this year. Yield is rated at 99 to Pearls 100 on the list, but yields are on a par, says marketing director Frank Curtis.

"It isnt a step back in yield at all – that was the problem we had with NIAB. Pearl had an exceptional year in 1997 and that is still in the data, but Diamond was not in trials then."

Mr Curtis says malting quality is Diamonds main edge. "Pearl is a good all round malting variety, but there are things that Diamond does better. From a malt point of view it will do the job more economically for the brewer, but that is not to say they will pay any more for it.

"I am told a merchant in East Anglia is offering £10/t premium contracts for both varieties," he adds.

Senior Nickerson barley breeder Rodney Habgood believes Diamond moves winter barley malting quality a step closer to spring varieties, a point supported by Coors Brewers brewing materials manager John MacDonald.

"I have only seen limited data, but on extract yield it appears to offer a significant improvement."

However, the acid test on malting quality will not be known until next month when the IOB considers the variety for provisional approval, adds Mr Curtis.

Mildew, rhynchosporium and net blotch resistances are rated at seven, seven and six, respectively, to Pearls eight, eight, five. Yellow and brown rust ratings are eight and seven to Pearls six and seven, respectively.

Meanwhile, Carat is an out and out feed variety, topping the two-rows on the Recommended List for yield at 104, a point ahead of CPB-Twyfords Scylla, but five points behind provisionally recommended six-row Pict from the same stable.

It is BYMV resistant, a feature Dr Habgood says is mandatory in the Cotswolds and parts of East Anglia and would be of benefit to many growers who perhaps have yet to realise the yield they are losing to the disease.

On mildew, rhynchosporium, net blotch, yellow and brown rust it is rated seven, seven, eight, six and five, accordingly. That disease profile plus short straw and early ripening means it could be that barley growers only need to spray it once, he adds. &#42

The winter barley production ladder, from top to bottom… Coors Brewers John MacDonald brews with it, Morley Research Centres Jim Orson grows it, and Nickersons Frank Curtis and Rodney Habgood breed it. They all reckon Diamond can shine.


&#8226 Provisional RL listed on appeal.

&#8226 Yield on par with Pearl.

&#8226 Close to spring malting quality.

&#8226 IOB verdict next month.


&#8226 Top two-row yield on RL.

&#8226 BYMV resistant.

&#8226 Short, soft straw.

&#8226 Rated 7 for standing.

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