BARLEY growers can expect better disease resistance and plumper grains from the new Vlamingh variety, according to the variety's principal breeder.
Agriculture Department senior barley breeder Chengdao Li said the new Vlamingh barley outperformed the Stirling variety for the three big barley diseases: barley scold, black-type blot and leaf rust.
Dr Li said Vlamingh trials over a five-year period showed the new variety was a superior-yielding variety, able to be used for malting.
It had proved to be the highest-yielding barley variety in WA so far, including feed barley varieties.
"In five years and about 100 trials, Vlamingh had a 12pc higher yield than Stirling on average," Dr Li said.
"The most exciting thing about Vlamingh is the plumpness of the grain, which determines whether it will be malting or feed barley on delivery.
"If you can get 80pc of your delivery with grains bigger than 2.5mm screening, we calculated there would be $40/ha additional income for each delivery, compared with the Stirling variety in the trials."
Dr Li said Vlamingh was a widely adaptable variety and would grow well in most Wheatbelt locations.
"It does flower seven days later than Stirling but you can account for that when planting," he said.
Dr Li said malting trials had shown Vlamingh was a more effective malting barley than Stirling or Gardiner.
"It has much better properties and is more suited to the malting process," he said.
The variety will be used to target the lucrative Shochu markets in Japan and other markets in China. Shochu is an alcoholic beverage popular in Japan.
Agriculture Minister Kim Chance said WA had consolidated its position as Australia's biggest barley-producing state, with 33pc of the national crop in 2004-05.
Mr Chance said the naming of the variety after explorer Willem de Vlamingh continued the tradition of naming WA barleys after famous coastline explorers.
He urged growers to subscribe to the new variety as soon as possible to avoid missing out, as he expected Vlamingh would be oversubscribed.
Vlamingh seed is available under exclusive licence from the Grain Pool, COGGO Seeds and Graintrust.