INTERGRAIN's newest imidazolinone (IMI) tolerant barley variety, which was officially launched in February, is on track to receive malt accreditation in time for the 2021 seeding season.
Barley Australia announced earlier this month that three parcels of Maximus CL were positively evaluated through Pilot Malting Australia in 2019.
With the variety having successfully completed stage one evaluation, it will proceed into stage two trials this year.
InterGrain marketing manager Ash Brooks said they worked with a growers across the country to produce large parcels of Maximus CL in 2019.
"The crops which did make malt one specification are currently in storage and they will be commercially malted this year," Ms Brooks said.
"Samples from those commercial malting evaluations will be taken and some pilot brewed, with the results from that process then collated and we are hopeful for a final accreditation announcement in March next year."
Barley Australia executive chairperson Megan Sheehy said the core objective of their program was to assess varieties for their suitability for the malting and brewing process.
"We don't ascertain whether the variety has a market fit or whether it has good agronomic properties," Dr Sheehy said.
"We also don't release information on stage one results more broadly because it's only part of the evaluation process and for people that don't have the technical knowledge to assess that information, we prefer that people aren't jumping to conclusions."
Ms Brooks said Maximus CL was a potential high quality malt variety.
"It has good quality characteristics suitable for Asian brewing markets, but there are also some domestic brewers that are interested in trialling Maximus," she said.
"If for some reason it doesn't pass stage two, we will repeat the process next year, provided suitable grain parcels are available.
"But we're very hopeful for accreditation and are excited by it's promising quality characteristics."
Maximus CL wasn't the only InterGrain variety to pass stage one, with acid soil tolerant variety Buff also making the cut and it will proceed into stage two trials in 2021.
Ms Brooks said because of the tough season in the areas where Buff was grown in WA last year, they didn't have any grain parcels which were suitable for evaluation as none made malt one specification.
"This year we're again working with growers and hope the season is more favourable for suitable quantities of Buff to be produced for evaluation in 2021," she said.
Dr Sheehy said the standard time to get through the evaluation process was three years, but it could be done in two if the breeder wants to accelerate through the process and if everything goes well with their barley plots.
"Maximus did well in the trial sites chosen and InterGrain, being a bigger program, would have had a much larger ability to put out numerous trial sites, whereas some of the smaller programs don't have that luxury, so often it takes them a lot longer to get a variety through," Dr Sheehy said.
"In theory, breeders can move through the whole process in two years, as stage one and two need to be carried out over two different seasons, so they can't do it any faster than that," Dr Sheehy said.
"It always depends on the availability of grain within that malt one specification and we did have a few varieties going through stage one, but from the start of last year it was clear they didn't have enough material to complete all of the assessments.
Leabrook, bred by the University of Adelaide, and Alestar, bred by Limagrain Europe, will also progress through to stage two evaluations this year.