The Scottish cereals lists include varieties of spring and winter barley, wheat and oats that are of most agronomic and commercial value to Scottish growers and the cereals sector. Seventeen new varieties have been added to the Scottish list for 2023-24 and the position of each is reviewed alongside the established choices.
Varieties with Full Approval from the Malting Barley Committee are Laureate and LG Diablo for malt distilling and brewing, KWS Sassy and Firefoxx for malt distilling, and Fairing for grain distilling. These varieties accounted for 95 per cent of the Scottish malting intake from the 2022 crop.
Six new varieties with potential for malting use in Scotland have been added to the 2023-24 list. Gaining commercial support can take up to three years, but the status of each new entry is as follows.
SY Tennyson looks promising for both malt distilling and brewing with its malting quality conferred by high hot-water extract and spirit yield. Very high agronomic yield is coupled with bold grain and low screenings. Though specific weight is below average and resistance to Rhynchosporium is poor.
Diviner has high potential for malt distilling with its high malt extract and spirit yield. It has good grain size and intermediate specific weight. Straw straw strength and resistance to brackling are very high, but it has poor resistance to Rhynchosporium.
KWS Curtis has potential for both malt distilling and brewing. It is small grained though specific weight is average. It has good all-around agronomic features including high resistance to Rhynchosporium.
SY Signet has grain quality features that suit a good brewing variety, including high malt extract and good beta glucan removal. It is high yielding with bold grain and good untreated yield.
Florence has brewing potential. It has high specific weight and low screenings with moderate grain size. It is high yielding and early maturing, with stiff straw and excellent resistance to brackling.
Sun King has potential for brewing. It has a good untreated yield, stiff straw and and excellent resistance to brackling. Though it has poor resistance to Rhynchosporium.
Hurler is a new feed variety with very high yield, but specific weight is below average. It has short very stiff straw and very high brackling resistance.
The winter barley list is strengthened by four new varieties with improved agronomic features. The leading two-row feed varieties are LG Mountain, KWS Tardis and Bolton. Whilst second year varieties LG Dazzle and Lightning are gaining interest with their improved untreated yield and good resistance to Rhynchosporium.
LG Caravelle is new two-row feed variety that looks certain to compete with the market leaders. It is high yielding with excellent specific weight and low screenings. Limited data indicates good performance on heavier textured soils.
Bolivia is a new two-row feed variety with good all-around agronomic features, including low screenings and good specific weight. It has above average disease resistance and performs equally well across different soil textures.
Buccaneer is two-row malting variety with potential for use in Scotland. Its treated and untreated yields are a significant improvement on older malting varieties such as Pearl and Craft. As with all winter malting varieties market requirements should be checked before sowing.
SY Nephin is a new six-row hybrid with high yield and excellent specific weight. Its untreated yield is relatively good with very high resistance to Rhynchosporium, though resistance to mildew is only average.
The leading soft textured varieties for distilling are LG Skyscraper, Swallow and Elation. This market is now supported by RGT Stokes and RGT Bairstow, and the Group 3 soft milling varieties LG Illuminate and KWS Brium. The latter has the best grain quality among the soft wheats.
Hard textured wheat varieties are recommended if they have high treated yield or bring value to the crop rotation with features such as high untreated yield or early maturity. The leading hard wheats are the Group 4s KWS Dawsum, LG Typhoon and SY Insitor and the Group 2 milling varieties KWS Extase and KWS Palladium.
LG Redwald is a new soft Group 4 with an AHDB recommendation for the East and West, where it has achieved very high yields. It may have value for Scottish growers as a distilling variety. It has relatively good untreated yield and has performed well as a second wheat. Though its weakish straw will need stiffening and specific weight is below average.
KWS Zealum is a soft Group 4 variety for distilling and feed. It has above average resistance to mildew, yellow rust and Fusarium. Its moderate straw strength responds well to stiffening with plant growth regulators.
KWS Ultimatum is a new Group 2 hard textured milling variety. It is added the Scottish list because of its high yield and outstanding untreated yield. As with most quality wheats, this variety has a high specific weight and good Hagberg figures.
Three new entries with milling quality will support several long-established varieties. The current market leaders include KWS Cochise in Group 2, KWS Fixum in Group 4 and KWS Ladum from Group 1.
KWS Alicium is a new Group 2 variety with very high yield and outstanding specific weight and Hagberg figures. It also has early maturity. KWS Harsum in Group 1 and KWS Lightum in Group 2 are also new varieties with high yield and excellent grain quality.
There are no new additions to the spring oats for 2023-24. The leading varieties remain Canyon, Conway and Merlin supported by WPB Isabel which is now fully recommended for its high grain quality.
Cromwell is a new winter oat variety. It is high yielding with excellent specific weight and good kernel content. It also has stiff straw. This variety should bring competition to the long established Dalguise and Gerald.
Spring barley choices for 2023 will consolidate around the current market leaders. Six new malting varieties will undergo further evaluation for future malt distilling and brewing uses. New malting varieties may also have a place for feed use. Winter barley options for 2023-24 are plentiful with added value through excellent grain quality and improvement in untreated yield.
Winter wheat includes three new entries alongside six varieties in their second year on the list. With wide variation in grain quality and agronomy features, wheat selections for 2023-24 will be based on the main distilling and feed markets, but with consideration of how choices bring added value to the crop rotation. The spring wheat list is the longest ever with nine varieties providing more options for spring cereal cropping in 2023.
The full Scottish list tables can be downloaded from www.sruc.ac.uk/cereals-list
Photo credit: Mark Bowsher-Gibbs
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