A MAJOR spring barley variety that not only brings new levels
of yield but could also widen growers’ end market opportunities
thanks to strong performance in domestic and European malting tests
is being launched to UK growers for 2006.
Robert Hiles of breeder New Farm Crops: High yields plus good
progress in UK and European malting tests make new spring malting barley NFC
Tipple an ideal 2006 choice
NFC Tipple has already been awarded provisional approval 1 for
brewing by the Institute of Brewing (IOB) in the UK, and is the
highest yielding spring malting barley on the HGCA Recommended
With a treated yield of 109% it offers a full 10 percentage point
yield advantage over the UK’s mainstay spring malting barley
variety, says breeder Syngenta Seeds, and a three percentage point
lead over its nearest rival with full IOB brewing approval.
But more than that, it is also progressing well in malting tests
across Europe. If successful, that could make it a pan European
spring malting variety, says Simon Phillips, head of product development
for New Farm Crops, the cereal breeding division of Syngenta Seeds,
helping end users achieve the consistency looked for with increasingly
pan European brands of beer.
“Spring malting barley continues to offer real advantages
for UK growers as we plan for 2006,” explains Mr Phillips.
“With its low fuel and fertiliser requirements, it is highly
cost-effective to grow. Analysis reveals gross margins of over £400/ha
are achievable – compared with just over half this from spring
oilseed rape and around £161/ha from spring peas.
“Moreover, global beer consumption is forecast to increase
to more than 1.9 billion hectolitres by 2015, particularly driven
by Eastern Europe and Asia. With our 79% pass rate for spring malting
barley to meet malting requirements, there are real opportunities
for UK growers – for domestic brewing, export malt and export
“The key is to grow top yielding varieties that are widely
accepted by buyers. With its exceptional yields and growing UK
and European acceptance, we believe NFC Tipple really fits that
According to Robert Hiles, head of sales and marketing for New
Farm Crops, as well as provisional IOB approval in the UK, NFC
Tipple has been awarded a provisional highest grade A classification
for malting quality in France, and is undergoing commercial malting
testing in Germany, Denmark and Sweden. A good balance of all the
main quality criteria that maltsters and end users look for seems
to be the reason behind its success.
“At a field level, yield on the HGCA Recommended List 2005/06
exceeds all other key varieties with full IOB brewing approval
in all regions,” Mr Hiles adds. “Additionally, NFC
Tipple is straightforward to grow. It has good disease resistance – very
similar to rising star variety Cocktail. And, importantly for ease-of-management,
it has very stiff straw – with a nine rating for resistance
to lodging and eight for resistance to brackling.
“But probably most important, given recent end user shifts
back towards grain with a lower nitrogen content, it is an inherently
low grain nitrogen producer. That can make it is easier for growers
to achieve required malting specifications. It’s a safer
bet in this respect,” he adds.
With five different UK maltsters currently evaluating over 2,000
tonnes of NFC Tipple from last harvest, Mr Hiles is hopeful of
gaining full IOB approval for brewing during 2006.
Based on a spring barley control yield of 6.8 t/ha on the HGCA
Recommended List 2005/06, and an average spring malting barley
price of £80/t, he calculates that a three percentage point
yield advantage for NFC Tipple over an alternative variety equates
to an extra £16.30/ha returned to the grower.
“Spring barley remains a profitable crop, possibly more
so than winter crops given high fuel and fertiliser prices.
“Also, beer brands are increasingly pan European, end users
are keen on European varieties, and UK growers are well placed
to produce high quality spring malting barley. With its high yield,
a balanced quality profile and progress in UK and European tests,
NFC Tipple potentially widens marketing opportunities for growers,” he
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