Seed World

A History of Fantastic Varieties that Continues

Limagrain’s breeding station in Hrub ice (Czech Republic) has been breeding for 75 years. Currently, two breeding teams are working on the breeding of new varieties of barley and wheat and have much to build on in their work. The successors of the prominent authors of successful varieties are Radim Korhon, head of spring barley breeding, and Tomás Novácek, head of winter wheat breeding.

The spring barley breeding program focuses on three types of products. These are mainly malting barley varieties suitable for the production of Czech beer, malting varieties suitable for the production of standard beers and, marginally, also for the breeding of feed varieties.

Over the years, a total of 39 varieties of spring barley have been registered, mostly of malting quality — 10 of which have been recommended by the Research Institute of Brewing & Malting (VÚPS) for the production of beer. These include varieties such as Bojos, Malz, Petrus, Laudis 550, LG Monus, LG Ester and the recently registered new varieties LG Sladek, LG Slovan and LG Stamgast. LG Stamgast is already finding its way to processors and growers and LG Slovan, which has a quality profile very similar to the already legendary Malz variety, is being intensively tested in operational trials in malting plants and breweries.

Among the important varieties from the turn of the century, I would like to mention the very successful Hana variety which has excellent food quality, as well as varieties such as Ina, Vega, Evelyna and, one of the most cultivated winter wheat varieties, the Etela variety. The shortlist of successful winter wheat varieties should certainly not forget the very early seeded variety Jindra, or the recently registered excellent varieties Nordika, Judita, LG Radana, LG Gabka, LG Aneri and most importantly Dagmar. Dagmar variety has been the best-selling early variety for a long time, with food grade ‘A’ and excellent winter resistance!

The aim of our breeders is to breed new, more efficient varieties with high malting quality; varieties that are suitable to produce both Czech and standard beers. Moreover, the winter wheat breeding program is mainly focused on breeding modern high-performance varieties.

The basis of breeding is to walk the field, work there with breeding materials, and make selections. Of course, for wheat breeding we also use the most modern methods, including molecular markers. These methods help us significantly to refine the selections and shorten the breeding cycle. Using the dihaploid induction method, it is possible to shorten the breeding cycle to five years.

Over the past few years, a total of 23 winter wheat varieties have been registered; in addition to the already mentioned excellent varieties Dagmar, Judita and Nordika, these also include the new varieties LG Dita and from spring 2022 LG Fiona and the very early variety LG Rozarka as well.

The greatest emphasis is on quality food wheat, according to market requirements — from Elite to biscuit.

The varieties bred at the Breeding Station in Hrub ice are registered and successfully traded not only in the Czech Republic and throughout Europe, but also in many countries in North and South America and Asia; production from our varieties is also an important export commodity.

The breeding station in Hrub ice is a workplace with an interesting history and certainly an extraordinary future.