Bass barley shines as a malt ace

30 Sep, 2011 02:00 AM
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InterGrain barley breeders David Moody (left) and Reg Lance inspect a commercial Bass seed production crop at Dandaragan on David Brown's property.
InterGrain barley breeders David Moody (left) and Reg Lance inspect a commercial Bass seed production crop at Dandaragan on David Brown's property.

INTERGRAIN'S Baudin type premium export quality barley WABAR2315 has officially been released as Bass.

Last month Farm Weekly reported the new variety looked to be moderately susceptible to powdery mildew in trials and would provide some hope to growers in the face of WA's increasing mildew challenge.

It was tipped to be released as early as March next year but InterGrain barley breeder Reg Lance said InterGrain understood the urgency for new resistant varieties and worked hard to fast-track the variety.

Bass was launched at the Australian Barley Technical Symposium in Adelaide last week and comes from the same breeding program which produced the revolutionary Baudin variety.

Bass matches Baudin for malting quality and according to InterGrain, is perfectly suited to export malt markets.

Mr Lance said Bass's superiority to Baudin was through improved grain plumpness which was the best of any elite malting variety currently grown in Australia, its improved yield and its disease resistance relative to Baudin.

In areas targeted for its release the yield of Bass was comparable to that of Commander which was recognised as one of the highest yielding current malting varieties on the market.

With its excellent export malting quality InterGrain expected Bass to be more sought after by the large export markets than Commander which was more suited to the smaller domestic brewing market.

Compared to Baudin, Bass has improved yield, grain plumpness, powdery mildew resistance and maintains Baudin's excellent sprouting tolerance.

Bass completed the first year commercial evaluation by Barley Australia with flying colours.

It's now undergoing its second year of evaluation with the malting stage having been completed and the brewing stage expected to be finalised by February 2012.

InterGrain's commercial manager Tress Walmsley said achieving a malt accreditation for a new barley variety was only part of the commercialisation process for barley and the introduction of the variety to the international market required careful planning and co-ordination.

"Bass is best suited as a premium export variety and InterGrain is working with CBH Grain to ensure that the quantity of the initial grain production in 2012 and 2013 matches end user demand," she said.

Ms Walmsley explained that InterGrain was also working with domestic maltsters like Viterra Malt and Barrett Burston Maltings because they had established markets for a Baudin quality variety throughout the Asian region.

With the potential for production of Bass in Victoria, InterGrain will also seek to develop additional markets through the provision of samples to the Geelong-based plant of the world's largest malting company, Malteurop.

Subject to the variety being accredited by Barley Australia for malting InterGrain will sell Bass seed to growers for next season.

In 2012 the amount of seed available will be limited so InterGrain intended to prioritise seed sales to a small number of regional areas to assist the logistics in arranging a small segregation for the grain at harvest in 2012.

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