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 MBC Provisional Approval (*1)

Three years of micromalting assessment lead to the decision on whether to award MBC Provisional Approval.  The recommendations on data from the NL1 and NL2 are used to identify varieties meeting the AHDB criteria for candidate selection and provisional recommendation.

In reaching decisions for Provisional Approval, the MBC uses, not only the most recent recommendations of the MMG, but also data and recommendations from the previous two years. The MBC also takes account of wider commercial considerations such as whether the agronomic performance is sufficiently competitive and how the variety will compare with currently purchased varieties, i.e. has the variety potential to be used in significant tonnages by the industry.

Provisional Approval is granted separately for Brewing, Malt Distilling and Grain Distilling. The Malting Barley Committee is the decision-making body.

Full MBC Approval (*)

Breeders are expected to be aware of progress under both the AHDB and MBC systems such that commercial bulks should be available to maltsters from the harvest following, first recommendation by AHDB for spring barley, and a year later for winter barley: these bulks are expected to meet normal commercial specifications.  The detailed Procedure for macroscale trials is given in Appendices B and E. To achieve Full Approval requires a specified number of satisfactory results in commercial maltings, breweries and/or distilleries (Appendix B).  Approvals are dealt with separately for brewing and distilling, each requiring tonnages likely to be in excess of 1000t.  For grain distilling it is impracticable to have a macroscale distillery test so decisions are based on micromalting, macroscale malting and SWRI’s test report.

It is important to understand that these macroscale tests are not under the control of the MBC. They rely on a breeder/agent allocating sufficient seed to growers to produce the required bulks that meet normal malting specifications.  In most cases the breeder/agent not only makes arrangements for growing the bulk but also identifies a maltster to carry out the macroscale malting.  In most cases the maltster will identify a brewer or distiller to complete the testing for that specific bulk. The MBC, and the Secretariat, have a role assisting this process, checking that breeders are aware which varieties may be needed for macroscale trials, checking what bulks have been produced, that plans are in hand for the macroscale tests and receiving the reports based on the MBC trials forms.

The results from macroscale trials are evaluated by the MBC and decisions taken on progress within the MBC Approval system.

Unless a new variety is assessed by the malting, brewing and distilling industries as having the potential to have a significant commercial future, then it is unlikely there will be volunteers to carry out the macroscale malting, brewing and distilling tests. These tests are expensive to conduct and there are relatively few businesses able and willing to conduct the tests and complete the reporting requirements.  Where a variety fails to complete macroscale testing within two years, it automatically fails to have a place on the MBC Approved List.