LAUREATE – the top pick of the malting varieties

Spring Barley

At SYNGENTA we are very proud of our long heritage in malting barley breeding. We began our breeding activities back in 1979 under the New Farm Crops banner, and since then we have gone from strength to strength developing many very successful spring barley varieties including OPTIC, NFC TIPPLE, QUENCH and more lately, the well-known variety LAUREATE.

LAUREATE first joined the AHDB Recommended List back in 2016 but continues to be the most popular spring barley grown across the UK and the most popular variety purchased by maltsters.

And it’s easy to see why...

  • High and stable yield performance
  • Unrivalled quality
  • Ease of producing the right malting specifications

High and stable yield performance

When it comes to yield, LAUREATE sets the standard to beat. It is the highest yielding spring barley variety with full MBC approval for both brewing and malt distilling on the 2023 AHDB Recommended List and has wide end user support.

LAUREATE is truly dual-purpose and is purchased across the UK for both these major markets, so regional adaptability is important.  Compared to the other fully approved varieties, LAUREATE demonstrates very competitive yield performance in both treated and untreated conditions and across all regions of the UK.

  Approved Use UK Treated UK Untreated North East West
LAUREATE Brew & Malt Distilling 103 94 102 103 104
LG Diablo Brew & Malt Distilling 101 92 102 102 101
RGT Planet Brew Only 98 89 99 99 98
Firefoxx Malt Distilling Only 103 92 103 103 104
KWS Sassy Malt Distilling Only 97 89 98 96 98

Source: AHDB Recommended List 2023

However, consistency and dependability are very much at the heart of LAUREATE’s success - both in terms of on-farm performance and end-user quality.

Again in 2022 we saw an excellent performance from LAUREATE, outperforming its 5-year treated mean in AHDB Recommended List trials, this is despite many other varieties underperforming.

An historical view of UK treated yield performance shows that this in nothing new. Since first entering AHDB Recommended List trials, LAUREATE has maintained a high level of performance despite many of the key competition declining in more recent years.













Source: AHDB annual yields (2015-2022)

LAUREATE has also maintained a strong, consistent, untreated yield performance since first being sown in Recommended list trials in 2015. This is very much underpinned by its robust disease profile with current AHDB ratings including a 9 for mildew, 5 for brown rust and a 6 for Rhynchosporium.

Unrivalled quality

From an end-user perspective, LAUREATE is very much the variety of choice, with contracts widely available for 2023. Maltsters purchase more LAUREATE than any another variety across the UK making up 48% of purchases from the harvest 2021 crop. LAUREATE was the highest purchased variety in both England and Scotland demonstrating the wide acceptance and adaptability of the variety. 

  Scotland total tonnes England total tonnes As % of total purchases
LAUREATE 581,727 315,679 48.0%
RGT Planet 0 291,397 15.6%
LG Diablo 124,230 40,362 8.8%
KWS Sassy 142,686 0 7.6%
Fairing 15,274 2,342 0.9%
Others 31,891 67,959 5.3%

Source: MAGB Malting purchases by region from 2021 harvest crop.

Ease of producing the right malting specifications

LAUREATE is purchased for both brewing and malt distilling; however, these two end markets require different % grain nitrogen:

  • Malt distilling - Low nitrogen contracts below 1.65%
  • UK domestic brewing contracts between approximately 1.6 and 1.75%

Local contracts will specify the % grain nitrogen required along with other criteria such as screenings and specific weight.  Getting the nitrogen right is key to gaining premiums for malting barley, and LAUREATE has proven year after year that it can easily produce a range of grain N for different markets by tailoring nitrogen rates and timings.

LAUREATE has consistently produced high stable yields on farm, with no signs of slowing.  It has strong agronomics and an easy ability to make a range of % grain for different markets.  LAUREATE continues to perform for end users and has flexible market options which makes it a highly valued and preferred variety for 2023 and beyond.

To read more about key statistics on LAUREATE, click here