SY Tungsten from plant breeder Syngenta was a new addition to the AHDB Recommended List in 2019/20 and is a variety with good potential for the brewing and malt distilling market.
In this blog, Seed Director Paul Huntley outlines the variety’s strengths and explains why it can be a worthy rival to Laureate and LG Diablo moving forward.
SY Tungsten Overview
SY Tungsten is the only potential new dual-purpose brewing and distilling variety coming through at the moment and it is currently undergoing macroscale malting, brewing and distilling evaluation.
Early signs appear positive and, at the next Malting Barley Committee meeting in May, it will be confirmed whether SY Tungsten receives full approval for brewing and distilling.
Here at Simpsons Malt, we have been involved throughout the trialling process. We grew about 1,000 tonnes on contract for harvest 2020 ahead of the macroscale malting trials.
Farmers who grew it last year were very taken with it and everybody who grew it on the trial has expressed an interest in growing it again, which is always a good sign.
SY Tungsten Agronomics
At 103%, the North Region yield of SY Tungsten is similar to that of LG Diablo and 3% above Laureate.
It’s a variety that has nice, bold grains, while it also has a higher specific weight than LG Diablo and Laureate. It’s earlier to mature than LG Diablo and it showed lower levels of skinning than both LG Diablo and Laureate in Syngenta trials in 2020.
It appears to have the potential to be a low grain nitrogen variety and, with its high hot water extract and PSY, it suggests that it could be a very useful addition to the brewing and distilling markets. In fact, it actually has a higher hot water extract and PSY than Laureate.
So, agronomically, it looks like quite the contender and, if its quality is verified in these macroscale trials, we could be looking at a commercially successful variety moving forward, especially seeing as there are no new dual-purpose varieties coming through behind SY Tungsten in 2021.
Other Spring Barley Updates
Moving forward, we’re also looking very closely at the variety Firefoxx from Elsoms, which is at the same stage as SY Tungsten in the approval process.
There’s been quite a lot of interest in it in the Scottish market, which is understandable given it’s a distilling-only variety. It is seen as a potential replacement for KWS Sassy, moving on the yield and agronomics.
The perception is that it’s early to mature and there’s also a suggestion that the skinning levels are lower than other varieties.
The mainstay varieties in the malt distilling market are still very much the dual-purpose varieties Laureate and LG Diablo. LG Diablo is slightly later to mature than Laureate, but it has recently had a shot in the arm after gaining full approval for brewing last October to complement its previous distilling approval.
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