Serving the Farming Industry across East Anglia for 35 Years
The latest recommended spring barley from KWS meets meets the demands of growers, the supply chain and the environment, says the breeder. Latest KWS spring barley meets multiple demands

• KWS Curtis outperforms its competitors

• Strong yields and agronomic properties

• First in a pipeline of new barley options

The latest recommended spring barley from KWS meets meets the demands of growers, the supply chain and the environment, says the breeder.

The addition of KWS Curtis to the 2023/24 AHDB Recommended List underlines the company’s commitment to breeding spring barleys that deliver in the malthouse and the field, says product manager Kirsty Richards.

“The first of a pipeline of similar high performers now entering candidate trials, KWS Curtis is a strong all-round variety bred specifically to be easy to grow and manage while meeting the demands of the supply chain.

“It’s a high yielding two-row variety that outperforms best in class for quality while delivering the highest spirit yields/ha of crop combined with reduced levels of carbon emissions throughout the production cycle.

Sustainable production

“It’s a great example of how genetics can contribute to more sustainable production being strongly aligned with our Sowing for Peak Performance (SPP) initiative arming customers with the varieties needed for success in an increasingly challenging future.”

KWS UK spring barley breeder Henry Barber says the resilience and performance of Curtis has been tested in a variety of growing conditions across Europe with the variety having an agronomic profile perfectly suited to the UK.

“It’s a variety that performs well across the country with treated yields of 105% of controls in the east and 103% in the north and west regions with an average yield of 104% for the UK as a whole,” says Dr Barber.

“These yields have been remarkably consistent over the last three years of trials despite very different spring seasons. Untreated yield is very high at 93%, too, giving growers a range of production options.

“It gets an exceptional 9 for mildew resistance and a 7 for rhynchosporium, while its 4 for brown rust is comparable with established market leaders. KWS Curtis has been bred to be a very safe bet for growers in terms of field performance as well.”

A score of 8 for lodging resistance without PGRs is best in class and compares well to the 6s achieved by the many commercialised malting varieties, says Dr Barber. Meanwhile, its 9 for brackling resistance is strengthened by a height of just 69cm.

As a potential dual purpose malting barley, KWS Curtis is currently rated green by the Malting Barley Committee (MBC) for both brewing and distilling with significant production and environmental benefits in both scenarios, adds Dr Barber.

Promising trials

“We will be focusing on producing larger bulk tonnages for further end user evaluations from Harvest 2023, but early indications are very promising.

“KWS and AHDB trials have shown KWS Curtis’ combination of higher field yield and spirit yield means every 1000 litres of alcohol results in 120kg less CO2 produced than a competing variety. In brewing, its CO2 output was 10% lower.

“This means KWS Curtis offers significant potential across the board from higher yields and quality for growers to higher alcohol yields from every tonne of grain for distillers and lower CO2 production to help mitigate against climate change.”

High performance spring barleys KWS Premis and KWS Nelis follow in the path of KWS Curtis with significant production and environmental potential.

“Both varieties are currently progressing through the MBC testing system with KWS Premis being evaluated for brewing only and KWS Nelis as a dual purpose variety.

“Both have very similar yields, quality potential and agronomic properties to KWS Curtis alongside its proven consistency across different growing seasons and regions of the UK.

“KWS Premis and KWS Nelis are now entering AHDB candidate trials for harvest 2023 and we have high hopes of them, too.”