ARABLE growers aiming at the lucrative malting market have some new high yielding spring barleys in their armoury, unveiled in the latest Recommended Lists from the industry levy-funded Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board.

This year Lists have gained no less than 22 new varieties, all demonstrating continued improvements in yield, disease resistance and quality, while 27 varieties have been removed because they now fall short.

Three new specifically malting varieties have been added to the Spring Barley list – RGT Asteroid, LG Tomahawk and LG Diablo.

AHDB 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 has yielded 109% compared to the control, LG Tomahawk yielded 107%, while RGT Asteroid is sitting at 102%. 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 agreeably low; LG Diablo at 1.37%, LG Tomahawk at 1.36% and RGT Asteroid at 1.40%, in comparison to Laureate’s 1.42% and Concerto’s 1.45%.

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

There have also been steady improvements in feed winter wheat, with two new soft and two new hard feed varieties listed, all the highest yielding varieties in their groups. The new soft feed wheats also provide opportunities for grain distilling and, in the case of Elation, potential for export too.

Of the soft varieties, KWS Jackal has a recommendation for the north, and is rated medium for distilling with a maturity similar to Viscount. The variety is stiff-strawed with very good resistance to yellow rust and good resistance to mildew.

Elation is the other high yielding soft variety which is good for distilling and also has a maturity similar to Viscount, plus very good resistance to yellow rust, and good resistance to mildew and brown rust.

Of the hard feed varieties, RGT Gravity is the highest yielding variety on the Recommended List, with 108% in the north region, based on limited data.

AHDB's recommended winter oilseed rape Recommended List sees the addition of four new conventional varieties for the North region, all high yielding in this region with short, stiff stems and good resistance to light leaf spot.

A new variety, Architect, with resistance to turnip yellows virus has been recommended and replaces Amalie on the Recommended List. Whilst there is often a trade-off between disease resistance and increased yield, Architect marks a step forward in TuYV resistant varieties, and also has good resistance to light leaf spot.

Amongst the winter barleys, there are three new six-row winter feed varieties recommended. The hybrid variety Libra has an impressive specific weight at 70.6 kg/hl, greater than all other six-row feed varieties and most of the two-row feed varieties. The hybrid variety Belmont has the highest yield on the new list – 111% in the UK and 109% in the north.

Only one new conventional six-row feed variety, KWS Astaire, has been recommended, on the strength of its 'superb package' of disease resistance and consequent ability to achieve the highest untreated yield – 93% – of the whole winter barley Recommended List.