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Winter Barley Variety Choices – Autumn 2020

8 August 2020

Variety choices for Autumn 2020

North region yields are given as the % of fungicide-treated controls (9.9 t/ha). Untreated yield is a % of UK treated controls (10.0 t/ha).


In two-row feed varieties, the best yields have been achieved by LG Mountain, KWS Creswell, KWS Hawking and LG Flynn. Feed varieties with the best grain quality are Valerie, KWS Cassia and LG Flynn. Most two-row varieties have 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, with the highest yielding being Belmont, SY Baracooda and SY Kingsbarn. The best conventional six-row variety is Funky.

The Scottish market for winter malting varieties remains small, at about 10 percent 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. All the current listed varieties have resistance to barley mild mosaic virus (BaMMV) and barley yellow mosaic virus (BaYMV) strain 1.

MBC = Malting Barley Committee.

Bazooka: This hybrid six-row is high yielding [105] with a very good untreated yield [87]. 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 [107], though yield loss is very high in untreated trials [77]. It has a good specific weight and is average for screenings. Other features such as maturity and straw stiffness are intermediate.

Craft: This malting variety has MBC Full Approval for brewing and had just over 20% of the UK market share in 2019. However, check market interest in 2020/21 before sowing. Treated yield [97] is low compared to feed varieties. It also has a low untreated yield [77].  Specific weight is good. Straw is average length and stiff.

Electrum: A malting variety which recently gained MBC Full Approval for brewing. It is low yielding [95] with a lowish untreated yield [79]. Specific weight is good. It is very early maturing and has average disease resistance.

Funky: A conventional six-row variety with high treated yield [104], but very good untreated yield [89]. This variety has a very good specific weigh but is prone to high screenings. It has short and stiff straw, and is very early maturing.

Jordan: This new two-row feed variety has a good treated yield [101] and excellent untreated yield [89]. Specific weight is good and screenings relatively low.  It has short straw with intermediate strength. It has above average resistance to Rhynchosporium.

KWS Cassia: This once widely-grown two-row variety has a specific recommendation for its excellent specific weight [71.0] and consistent performance in the North region, though in trials its treated yield has become outclassed [98]. Its untreated yield is intermediate [81]. 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 two-row recommendation for the North region, where its yield [102] has been above its UK average. It has an intermediate specific weight, with average straw length and strength. A very low untreated yield [72] reflects weaknesses for mildew and net blotch. It has achieved high yields on lighter soils.

KWS Hawking: This new two-row feed variety has a competitive yield [102] and above average untreated yield [83]. It has good specific weight and intermediate screenings. It has average maturity and straw strength. It performs well on heavier textured soils.

KWS Orwell: A high yielding [101] two-row feed variety with 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: Is no longer widely grown. It maintains a consistent treated yield [101] but has a poor untreated yield [73]. It is intermediate for specific weight and screenings. It is weak for net blotch and tends to be poor for mildew. It has stiff straw and has performed well on lighter textured soils.

Libra: This hybrid six-row feed variety has a modest yield in the North region [103], 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: This two-row feed variety has an excellent specific weight. Treated yield is good [102] and untreated yield average [82]. It has weak resistance to mildew, but intermediate resistance to Rhynchosporium and net blotch, and average maturity. It performs well on heavy textured soils.

LG Mountain: This two-row feed variety is very high yielding [105] and early maturing. It has good specific weight. Disease resistance and untreated yield are average [83]. Trials data indicates that it is well suited to heavier textured soils and responds well to plant growth regulators. It is the highest yielding two-row variety on the SRUC Scottish List.

SY Baracooda: A hybrid six-row variety with high yield [106] and very good untreated yield [88]. 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 hybrid six-row variety has high yield [106], very good untreated yield [88] and very good specific weight. It also has low screenings. Its straw is relatively stiff and maturity about average.

 Valerie: A two-row feed variety with above average agronomic value. It has excellent specific weight [70.2] and strong agronomic features. Treated yield is good [101] with untreated yield relatively high [86]. It is early maturing, with stiff straw and relatively good disease resistance.

Further details:

The full data sets collected are available on the AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds website here

Cereal varieties of most value to growers in Scotland are highlighted in the SRUC Scottish List tables here

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