LG Diablo is now the highest yielding spring barley variety with full approval for both brewing and malt distilling, on the 2021/22 AHDB Recommended List.
Ron Granger, Limagrain’s arable technical manager, shares the key attributes of the variety and how to get the best establishment in the spring.
LG Diablo sits amongst the top yielders on this year’s Recommended List, yielding 102% of control. Significantly, its yields are highest in the key malting barley growing areas of the east and north (103%).
LG Diablo’s untreated yield remains towards the top of the yield table, showing the robustness of the variety’s agronomic package and disease resistance ratings.
LG Diablo has a very good specific weight, 66.9 kg/hl, which is important in the malting industry, as malting is a volume-based process and low specific weights cause reduced throughput in the processing plants.
Growers with low specific weight parcels will incur penalties if specifications are not met, particularly in times of over-production.
LG Diablo’s hot water extract is a similar level to that of Concerto – a trait that helped Concerto to become a benchmark variety. A high hot water extract is heavily desired by the end user to achieve higher sugar extraction rates from the malt, and the ability to create more alcohol.
LG Diablo offers straw characteristics similar to RGT Planet: medium in height (72cm), with good lodging and brackling resistance.
Now that the variety has been given the green light by the industry for both brewing and distilling, LG Diablo’s future is very bright as it takes its place as a key variety in the sector – meeting the requirements of both growers and end users.
Top tips for spring barley establishment
1. Time of drilling
Wait for the right conditions for drilling – when both weather and/ or soil conditions allow for good seedbed preparation combined with rising soil and air temperatures, to ensure rapid emergence and establishment.
Limagrain work shows that earlier drilling in the spring encourages higher yield potential, mainly on lighter, free draining land that will dry and warm up faster than heavier, wetter soil types.
Earlier drilling on these less moisture retentive soils will allow for greater plant root development, ensuring a higher tiller number survival when plants suffer stress in a drought situation.
Drilling early significantly increases the risk of disease, so consider varieties with strong disease resistance for this situation.
2. Seed rate
Limagrain’s seed rate trials over various seasons and regions, show that the optimum seed rate for LG Diablo is 350 seeds/m2 when drilling into ideal conditions around mid-March.
This figure can be adjusted up or down depending on weather, drilling date, seedbed quality, moisture availability and perhaps most importantly, the grower’s own experience on individual sites.
A lower rate of 300-325 seeds/m2 would suffice if drilling into an “onion bed” in March.
However, when forced to drill into April, due to the weather or for agronomic reasons such as blackgrass control, pushing up to 400-450 seeds/m2 is advisable.