By Steve Hoad


Three spring malting barley varieties, a high-quality spring oat, a spring wheat, and more feed options for winter cereals, have been added to the new Scottish recommended list for cereals 2020/21.

For spring malting barley, SY Tungsten, Firefoxx and SY Splendor have made good progress in malting quality tests, with early indications that all three will suit different malting uses in Scottish or UK markets.

SY Tungsten has performed very well in malting tests and with good results for malt extract and spirit yield will attract the interest of both brewers and malt distillers. SY Tungsten has an outstanding yield, but as with most current varieties it has weak resistance against the disease Rhynchosporium.

Firefoxx has grain characteristics that suit malt distilling. It also has excellent agronomic yield and is the earliest maturing of the three new malting varieties. SY Splendor is under test for brewing and its excellent yield is above current market leaders for this sector.

The combination of good malting quality and strong agronomic performance will enable the Scottish malting sector to position SY Tungsten, Firefoxx and SY Splendor for local barley production and support to the current market leaders Laureate, KWS Sassy and LG Diablo.

For the spring barley feed crop, a recent trend has been to recommend high yielding malting varieties as they tend to out-perform their feed-only counterparts. But a new feed variety called Prospect looks competitive for yield and agronomic features, and should be considered as a replacement for Scholar, which is becoming outclassed.

In recent years, the area being sown to oats has been well above 30,000 hectares and it is encouraging to see another new spring oat variety make the Scottish list. WPB Isabel is very high yielding and has excellent kernel content and low screenings. It also has very stiff straw, without compromising on straw length.

The spring wheat sector is relatively small, but a new variety called KWS Giraffe makes a good spring sowing option with its high grain quality and high yield. This nabim Group 2 variety is a good partner to its stablemate KWS Cochise, and it yields ten percent above Mulika.

Choices for winter wheat have consolidated with several older varieties, including Viscount and Leeds, dropping off the list. Although there are no new soft-grained distilling wheats, this sector is already served very well by market leaders LG Skyscraper, Elation and KWS Jackal.

New on the Scottish wheat list are two feed-only varieties that add value in agronomic features or grain quality. A new soft feed variety, RGT Saki, has above average resistance to Septoria tritici and a relatively good untreated yield. Whilst a new hard feed variety, SY Insitor, combines high specific weight with excellent yield.

In winter barley, two new feed varieties have been added to the two-row feed category. KWS Hawking has a competitive yield and has performed well in trials on heavier textured soils. Jordan has above average resistance to Rhynchosporium and has a good untreated yield. Both KWS Hawking and Jordan will complement LG Mountain and Valerie that were added to last year’s list.

The full SRUC and AHDB recommended lists are now available online. The market position of established and new varieties will be discussed at the AHDB-SRUC agronomy workshops in January 2019 – check out the AHDB and SRUC websites for more information.