Arapiles barley is going into the manufacture of suochu, a traditional, distilled Japanese liquor, not unlike sake or gin in its taste to Western palates. (In our picture, it 's the frosted bottle in the middle.)
This highlights the acceptance in the Japanese market of the recently released malting barley variety, developed by the Victorian Institute for Dryland Agriculture with support from growers through the GRDC. It's all part of the Regional Barley Improvement Programs which, with support from growers through the GRDC, seek to fast-track quality new malting varieties to keep and enhance Australia's export position.
The first commercial export of Arapiles (20,600 tonnes) arrived in Japan in June. The Australian Barley Board estimates the market potential in that country alone as 100,000 tonnes.
The new variety has I per cent lower protein than Schooner, making it easier to achieve malting grade. It already accounts for II per cent of Victoria's barley production, particularly suited to conditions in the Wimmera.