THE BIG news for Scottish growers in the latest incarnation of the AHDB Recommended List is that three new high yielding malting spring barleys have made it on as fully recommended.

Launched this week, the list overall has gained 22 new varieties, though 27 varieties have been removed.

AHDB said the new varieties all demonstrate continued improvements in yield, disease resistance and quality.

The spring barleys are RGT Asteroid, LG Tomahawk and LG Diablo, which are expected to challenge the established Concerto and the up and coming Laureate for a share of what is a highly competitive and technically challenging market.

AHDB's senior crop scientist, Jenna Watts, said: “There are now three very high performing new varieties on the list. LG Diablo, which yields strongly in the north and is under test for brewing and malt distilling; LG Tomahawk, which also yields very highly and is undergoing testing for malt distilling, and RGT Asteroid, which is being tested for brewing, malt distilling and grain distilling.

“They all compare favourably with Concerto and Laureate in terms of yield and agronomic features.”

In trials in the north region, LG Diablo yields 109%, LG Tomahawk 107% and RGT Asteroid sits at 102% of control. This compares with recently approved Laureate, which yields at 105% in the north and Concerto which sits at 93%.

In terms of nitrogen content the three new varieties are all low – LG Diablo, 1.37%; LG Tomahawk, 1.36%; and RGT Asteroid at 1.40%.

“It’s now really a case of wait and see,” added Ms Watts. “The newest varieties clearly have potential, but are still under test.”

With winter wheat, there has also been steady improvements with two new soft and two new hard feed varieties listed. These were the highest yielding varieties in their groups. The soft feeders are KWS Jackal, a high yielder with a recommendation for the north and Elation, which is a high yielding soft Group 4 variety which is good for distilling.

Of the hard feeders, RGT Gravity is the highest yielding variety on the List with 108% in the north, though this is based on limited data.

Gleam is also a high yielding hard Group 4 variety (105% in the north region, based on limited data).