Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Progress is being made on barley breeding quest

The Impromalt project has been running since 2013
The Impromalt project has been running since 2013

The quest to improve the malting potential of winter barley while retaining its high yield has taken a major step forward with groundbreaking new science conducted by the James Hutton Institute (JHI).

Farmers attending the Cereals in Practice event at Oldmeldrum in Aberdeenshire heard how scientists involved in the £2 million Impromalt project now understood the arrangement of genes on barley chromosomes and were using their knowledge to cross varieties with precision.

JHI scientist, Dr Bill Thomas said breeders had been trying to achieve a high yielding and top malting winter barley for some time but in the past achieving success had been a matter of chance – “like rolling the roulette wheel”.

“But now we can see exactly where we want to cut the chromosome to take part of the winter parent and add it to the spring parent,” he said.

The scientists are using traditional breeding methods alongside DNA fingerprinting techniques to bring precision to the science. The work is being done in conjunction with six cereals breeding companies.

The first new material will enter test trials for the 2017 harvest and the grain will then be malted and tested to see how much improvement has been made. However Dr Thomas downplayed the likelihood of a quick fix for the industry.

“There’s a chance the work could lead to a new variety but we would be very lucky if that happened,” he said.

“We might have a good line which we could enter into recommended list trials but there’s just an outside chance of that. Instead we often have to go through one or two cycles of improvement to make a cross.”

The Impromalt project began in April 2013 and is funded by the Biological and Biotechnology Science Research Council , the Scottish Government and the levy body, AHDB.

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]