b'Barley breeder inspecting his new varieties. (Photo: KWS)hoping that barley for food use will step out of its niche in theHowever, he notes that beer brewers generally want the same near future.as farmershigh and stable yield at costs as low as possible. In At Sejet, all spring barley bred and selected for malting pur- other words, they want a high extract per kilo, in combination with poses, and only when the quality is not sufficientbut yield anda fast, uniform germination, followed by low viscosity and high agronomy is goodwill varieties for the feed market be devel- filtration speed. Some of these traits are controlled by few genes oped, explains Lene Krusell (Spring barley breeder at Sejet).like - and -amylases, but others are more complex like extract, The main focus for its winter barley is feed, with malt taking upand again, to some extent influenced by environment. about 15 per cent of the programme. Hiles echoes these thoughts, explaining however that whilst the big beer brands require quality parameters such as BREEDING FOR MALTING extract and fermentability to be consistent across differing envi-Besides malting quality, barley is also bred with the goals of dis- ronments across the EU, specialised craft brands want locally ease resistance, physical grain quality and straw stiffness, saysgrown barley with consistent protein levels over varying years Dunckel, along with adaptation to conditions (yield stability) inand non-fermentable sugars. environments across wide areas of Europe. Tastes and recipesThe emergence of craft brewers is leading barley breeding for beer production also vary across countries, so this affectsmore towards flavour- and mouth-feel-oriented, slow-processing vari-what varieties are grown. eties with normal modification, adds Strube, the opposite of what However, Strube says while there is currently a growingindustrial breweries are looking for. On the other hand, the increas-interest in flavour components in barley varieties, the mosting beer consumption in emerging markets also sets new trends in essential drivers of malting quality are of economic nature:breeding: high modification and high FAN levels are required for extract yield, processing time/energy, viscosity & filtration time,such markets, with almost all beer brands using adjuncts.colloidal stability, presence of off-flavours and so on. In totalWithin the last few years, Krusell notes there has been a we screen for about 30 traits, he says, noting that in particular,large focus on breeding non-GN (glycosidic nitrile) dual-func-the resource efficiency of particularly malting barley is verytion varieties, especially in UK and Ireland. These varieties are significant; to be able to produce both malt and beer with lessoptimal for both brewing and whiskey distilling. Hiles notes that energy and resources is of utmost importance. with the use of marker technology, screening for the presence Malting quality is genetically extremely complex and alsoof GN is now quite rapid, and that high PSY (predicted spirit influenced by the environment in which the barley is grown.yield) is also an important selection criterion for the distilling Quality requirements can also vary somewhat between differentmarket. Strube adds that whiskey distillers also want High-malting companies depending on their particular processes, saysDiastatic Power varieties to improve the economic efficiency of Dunckel, which all makes for difficult and cost-intensive breed- the process. ing efforts. And, of course, the costs to develop a variety for a specific market, adds Hjortshj, are basically the same whetherYIELD AND DISEASE RESISTANCEthe market is small or large, and farmers usually prefer to growAccording to these breeding firms, barley yields are increasing varieties with large markets.by 0.5 to 2% a year in Western Europe, but in other parts of EUROPEAN-SEED.COMIEUROPEAN SEED I 7'