Using more resilient varieties is one of the most effective ways of reducing disease risk
There is increasing interest in looking at untreated yields of varieties in trials and looking at the disease ratings. There are some good advances in treated yields and that is still a strong driver in picking varieties – but looking at the yield loss when untreated is always useful.
In two-row feed varieties, the best yields have been achieved by LG Mountain, KWS Creswell, KWS Orwell and KWS Infinity. Feed varieties with the best grain quality are Valerie, KWS Cassia and LG Flynn. Most two-row varieties have a weakness to one or more of the major diseases e.g. mildew, Rhynchosporium or net blotch.
The list of six-row varieties is dominated by hybrids. For 2019/20, there are two new hybrids, SY Baracooda and SY Kingsbarn. The best conventional six-row varieties are Funky and KWS Astaire.
The Scottish market for winter malting varieties remains small, at about 10 per cent of the UK total intake. Malting varieties have a significant yield penalty compared to most feed varieties.
Specific weight along with disease resistance, maturity and straw stiffness should be considered when making variety choices. Unless stated otherwise, all the varieties listed below have resistance to barley mild mosaic virus (BaMMV) and barley yellow mosaic virus (BaYMV) strain 1.
MBC = Malting Barley Committee.
North region yields are given as the % of fungicide-treated controls (9.8 t/ha). Untreated yield is a % of UK treated controls (9.9 t/ha).
Bazooka: This hybrid six-row is high yielding  with a very good untreated yield . It has a good specific weight and relatively low screenings. It has tall, stiff straw, but can lodge under high-pressure situations. It has intermediate disease resistance, though is relatively weak for mildew. Maturity is intermediate. It yields well in all regions and performs well on heavy textured soils.
Belmont: A hybrid six-row variety with outstanding yield , though yield loss is very high in untreated trials . It is average for specific weight and screenings. Other features such as maturity and straw stiffness are intermediate.
California: Recommended for the West for its tall stiff straw, this variety has early maturity and moderate specific weight. Disease resistance is intermediate. It is well suited to heavier soils. It’s North region yield  has become out-classed, but untreated yield  is average for this category.
Craft: This malting variety has MBC Full Approval for brewing and had just over 20% of the UK market share in 2018. However, check if there is any market interest in 2019/20 before sowing. Treated yield  is low compared to feed varieties. Specific weight is good. It has stiff straw, but low untreated yield .
Electrum: A UK malting variety with MBC Provisional Approval for brewing. It is low yielding , but has good specific weight. It is early maturing and has average disease resistance.
Funky: A conventional six-row variety with average treated yield , but very good untreated yield . This variety has a very good specific weight but is prone to high screenings. It has short and very stiff straw and is early maturing.
KWS Astaire: This conventional six-row feed variety has an average yield . It has a low specific weight, though screenings are also low. It has very stiff and above-average disease resistance.
KWS Cassia: This widely grown successor to Saffron has excellent specific weight [71.0] and consistent performance in the North region, though in trials it has become outclassed . It remains on the SRUC Scottish List as a specific use variety. Resistance to lodging is good. Mildew and Rhynchosporium resistance are weak, but brown rust and net blotch resistance relatively good. Its maturity is later than average.
KWS Creswell: A recommendation for the North Region where its yield  has been above its UK average. It has an intermediate specific weight, with average straw length and strength. A very low untreated yield  reflects weaknesses for mildew and net blotch. It has achieved high yields on lighter soils.
KWS Glacier: With a competitive yield  and very good specific weight, this two-row feed variety has been grown widely. It is no longer on the SRUC Scottish list because of a decline in market share. Its straw is both weaker and shorter than KWS Cassia. It is very weak for mildew and Rhynchosporium and has a low untreated yield . It has intermediate maturity and performs well on heavier textured soils.
KWS Infinity: A high yielding  two-row feed variety with a fairly good specific weight. It has intermediate straw strength. It has weak resistance to mildew with moderate resistance to other diseases and below-average untreated yield . It is now considered to be outclassed on the SRUC Scottish list.
KWS Orwell: A high yielding  two-row feed variety with an intermediate specific weight. It has stiff medium-length straw. It is very weak for mildew and has average Rhynchosporium resistance. Maturity is average. It performs well on both heavy and lighter textured soils.
KWS Tower: This widely grown two-row feed variety has consistent yield  and moderate specific weight. It is taller than KWS Glacier and slightly later maturing. It is weak for net blotch and tends to be poor for mildew. It has performed well on lighter soils.
Libra: This hybrid six-row feed variety has a modest yield in the North region , but an excellent specific weight [70.8]. It is early maturing and has average straw strength. It is weak for mildew. Yields have been very good on heavier land.
LG Flynn: A new two-row feed variety with a very good specific weight. Its treated yield  is low in the North region compared to its overall UK performance, whilst untreated yield is average . It has weak resistance to mildew and is relatively late maturing. The limited data indicates that it is best suited to heavy textured soils.
LG Mountain: This new two-row feed variety is very high yielding  and early maturing. It has good specific weight. Disease resistance and untreated yield  are average. Limited data indicates that it is best suited to heavy textured soils and responds well to plant growth regulators. It is the highest yielding two-row variety on the SRUC Scottish List.
Sunningdale: This hybrid six-row variety has the best North region yield . Specific weight is just below other six-row varieties. It has moderate straw strength and average maturity. It yields even better on lighter textured soils.
SY Baracooda: A new hybrid six-row variety with high yield  and very good untreated yield . It has good specific weight and relatively low screenings. It is very tall and needs protection from leaning and lodging under high-pressure situations. It has excellent resistance to mildew.
SY Kingsbarn: This new hybrid six-row variety has high yield , very good untreated yield  and very good specific weight. It also has low screenings. Its straw is relatively stiff and maturity about average.
SY Venture: A malting variety with MBC Full Approval for brewing. In 2018, it had just under 20% of the UK winter malting intake, with a small quantity sourced from Scotland. It has a very low yield  and poor untreated yield . It can produce above-average screenings.
Valerie: A new two-row feed variety with excellent specific weight [70.2] and strong agronomic features. It is early maturing, with stiff straw and relatively good disease resistance. Untreated yield is very high , with a North region treated yield just below its UK average .
The full data sets collected are available on the AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds website.
Cereal varieties of most value to growers in Scotland are highlighted in the SRUC Scottish List tables.
Sign up to the FAS newsletter
Receive updates on news, events and publications from Scotland’s Farm Advisory Service