The Malting Barley Committee of the Maltsters Association of Great Britain (MAGB) has released its list of malting barley varieties approved for harvest 2021.

Based on recent demand patterns, the MAGB had expected UK malting barley purchases across England and Scotland in the 2020/21 marketing year to be around 1.8 million tonnes. However, it now notes that the impact of Covid-19 on the malting, brewing and distilling industries will have reduced the requirement by “an amount not quantifiable at present.” The NFU has already drawn attention to a 50% drop in demand for malt since lockdown resulting in some farmer contracts being put forward for negotiation.

Of the winter barleys, Electrum (Syngenta) is now fully approved for brewing alongside existing varieties Craft and Flagon (both Syngenta). SY Venture (Syngenta) is removed from the list for brewing.

Iconic (Agrii) and Splendor (Syngenta) join the spring barley list for brewing with P1 approval and Tungsten (Syngenta) for both brewing and distilling, while Firefox (Elsoms Ackermann) has P1 for distilling only. Cosmopolitan (Senova) moves to P2 for brewing, while LG Diablo (Limagrain) remains in P2 for brewing.

RGT Asteroid (RAGT Seeds) loses its brewing and malt distilling approvals but remains on the list for grain distilling with a P2 recommendation. Fairing (Syngenta) is the only variety fully approved for grain distilling.

Concerto (Limagrain) and Laureate (Syngenta) remain fully approved for brewing and distilling, RGT Planet (RAGT Seeds) and Propino (Syngenta) for brewing and KWS Sassy (KWS-UK) and Sienna (Limagrain) for malt distilling.

The full list is available on the MAGB website.