The new Hindmarsh variety of barley, which so impressed growers across Australia with its strong yielding ability, especially in low to medium rainfall zones, is soon to be tested for malting capacity.
Many farmers throughout the Wimmera and Mallee regions in Victoria were thrilled with the variety, which has recorded strong results when there is a late break or lower than average rainfall.
And while the variety stands up well as a feed line, farmers would be even more excited if it gains malting status, which will increase its end use options.
Hindmarsh more than met grower's expectations as a feed barley variety in its first full year of production in 2008 after being launched in September 2007 by the Department of Primary Industries (DPI), Victoria and commercial seed partner AWB Seeds.
AWB Seeds, the successful tenderer for the commercial seed license for Hindmarsh, sold approximately 900 tonnes of the variety in 2008 with the aim of bulking up the variety last year.
This year, following the positive response of growers, AWB Seeds have the ability to market an estimated 5000 tonnes of seed for the coming 2009 sowing season.
Approximately 450 tonnes of Hindmarsh grain harvested from the 2008/09 season, within malting specification, will be malted in large scale ‘commercial malt trials’ by two Australian malting companies.
The first phases of these trials are expected to start in late April 2009.
Barley industry development officer Mary Raynes warned growers that it would not be a quick process.
"As with any variety seeking malting accreditation, the variety must first pass two years of commercial scale malt and brewing evaluation, not necessarily in consecutive years," she said.
"The results from these trials will be analysed and discussed by the Malting and Brewing Industry Barley Technical Committee (MBIBTC) and Pilot Brewing Australia (PBA) prior to Barley Australia (BA) endorsing the variety as an ‘Australian Malted Accredited’ variety if it successfully meets these standards."
The earliest that Hindmarsh could be endorsed by Barley Australia (BA) as an ‘Australian Accredited Malting Barley Variety’ is October 2010. Until then, growers will be sowing Hindmarsh as a feed barley variety.
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