With sales of the Laureate malting barley seed capturing more than 15 per cent of the Scottish total this spring, farmers who have sown the new variety will be relieved to learn it has gained full approval for both the malt distilling and brewing markets.
Lorne Watson, chairman of the Agricultural Industries Confederation’s (AIC) seed sector in Scotland, said that with a single variety – Concerto – accounting for more than 80 per cent of the malting barley acreage in recent years, growers would be pleased that a new variety with favourable agronomic characteristics had been deemed fully acceptable to the maltsters.
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He said that while the variety still had to prove itself fully to growers, a promised yield advantage of close to a tonne a hectare had been enough to convince many farmers to sow it this spring before it had received full approval.
The variety’s breeder, Syngenta, said that promotion to full approval meant that Laureate was the highest-yielding spring barley on the current AHDB Recommended List to have gained full approval in both markets.
The company’s seeds and seedcare campaign manager, Mark Bullen, said that in recent years there had been an increasing yield gap between varieties approved for brewing and varieties for distilling.
“The industry has definitely moved back to wanting single varieties suited to both markets, and Laureate puts growing for distilling back on a more equal yield footing with growing for brewing. It is a real breakthrough for growers,” he said.
“Encouragingly, Laureate also made progress in the brewing sectors in France and Germany earlier this year. It is also generating interest in the US, Canada and Japan.”