Limagrain Cereal Seeds is looking to test a new winter malting barley to see how it performs in the Pacific Northwest.
LCS Violetta was developed by Saatzucht Breun in Germany and is marketed in the U.S. by Limagrain.
The variety is best suited for western Oregon and western Washington, which have mild winters, said Zach Gaines, national sales and marketing manager for Limagrain in Fort Collins, Colo.
The company has primarily been marketing spring malting barley varieties. Gaines said growers might see a yield advantage planting winter varieties compared to spring.
“It’s something we would be interested in pursuing, if there were winter barley trials in the area,” he said.
The American Malting Barley Association recently added LCS Violetta to its list of 2019 recommended varieties.
“Normally we recommend early in the year, but since this is a winter variety, it fits in well recommending it now because it could be seeded this fall,” said Scott Heisel, vice president and technical director of the malting barley association.
One of the association’s members is using the variety, he said.
Violetta has performed well in the mid-Atlantic and Midwest regions, but may not perform as well in the upper Midwest and northeast, which have severe winters.
Limagrain is also developing LCS Opera for the Pacific Northwest. It was developed by the company’s United Kingdom breeding program, and could be malted or used for feed.
“Normally before we get super-excited about something, we like to see two years of data,” he said.
It placed first for yield in seven of eight field trials across various rainfall zones in Washington State University’s barley trials, Gaines said.
LCS Opera averaged 4,020 pounds per acre in trials in low rainfall zones; 5,530 pounds per acre in trials in medium rainfall zones and 5,570 pounds per acre in high rainfall zone trials.
Gaines thinks growers will consider LCS Opera for its malting quality and high yields.
“They don’t have to take the risk they would with another malting line,” he said. “If they don’t make spec for malting, they still have the highest-yielding line and they can sell it for feed.”
LCS Opera has a good malting profile for craft beers, Gaines said.
Craft beer is about 12% of the beer produced in the U.S., but uses about 40% of the barley in the nation, he said.
It will likely be a few years before LCS Opera makes the recommended variety list, Gaines said.
“We have just enough seed this year to actually get it in the hands of some of our partners,” he said.