RGT Asteroid, RAGT’s most recent spring barley offering which was promoted to the 2018/19 Recommended List, is set to corner the grain distilling market if it gains approval from the malting barley committee next spring.
Paul Huntley, cereal seeds director at Berwick-upon-Tweed-based MSP Agriculture, says the variety exhibited some significant traits in last season’s micromalting trials that suggest it will be very well suited to this sector.
“We grew the variety in our own trials in 2017. As well as achieving good nitrogen levels, we also noticed that the grain exhibited high enzyme levels.
“Following that we grew it commercially this season, producing 2500t which we will run through macro-malting tests this winter. If it works as well as we think it will, it has every chance of being fully approved as a grain distilling variety in May next year, potentially gaining momentum for larger scale commercial sowing in spring 2020.”
“RGT Asteroid yields competitively and shows good vigour,” he adds. “It could be a valuable addition to a sector that is currently filled by Scandinavian imports or less competitive UK-grown varieties such as Fairing and Olympus.
“There is also interest in seeing how the variety performs at lower nitrogen levels, and it is hoped that the requisite macroscale malting and distilling evaluations could be done ex-harvest 2019 to allow its credentials to be assessed for this market too.”
RAGT’s Cathy Hooper has high hopes that RGT Asteroid will be the next key grain distilling variety, and that it has a good future in the bigger malt sector too, thanks to its high specific weight, low screenings and strong agronomic features and good all-round disease resistance.
“We put a lot of crops out last spring, and certainly have enough for grain distilling macro-malting tests this winter. We see it as a grain distilling variety for Scotland and the north of England next season, and hopefully as a malt distilling variety the year after.”