Courtesy of Jerry Brown
The American Malting Barley Association has added three varieties and dropped two from its list of recommendations to growers.
Each year, the association releases its list of recommended varieties for the coming crop year. The list is meant to inform U.S. producers which varieties the industry intends to use.
Recommended varieties perform well agronomically for U.S. growers and have uses for the malting, brewing and distilling industry, said Scott Heisel, vice president and technical director for the association.
This year, spring two-row barley varieties Explorer, Newdale and Propino were added to the list.
Explorer was developed by Secobra Recherchesin France and is grown in Europe, Asia and South America. It has been grown successfully in the West and upper Midwest of the U.S., according to the association.
Newdale was bred by veteran Canadian barley breeder William Legge, now retired, and registered in Canada in 2001. In the U.S., it is primarily grown in Maine.
Propino was developed by Syngenta and has been recommended for brewing in the United Kingdom since 2010. It has performed well in the western U.S., according to the association.
The varieties were tested and appear to grow well in the U.S., Heisel said.
“We want to make sure that if they’re getting used, we have them on a recommended list,” he said.
CDC Meredith and Stella-ND are no longer recommended varieties. Heisel said they were not being contracted any more or used as malting varieties.
“They just kind of went by the wayside,” he said.
Farmers aren’t legally bound to the list, Heisel said. Some barley varieties that can be malted are not on the list. In some cases, it’s easier for growers to get crop insurance if the variety is on the list, he said.
The majority of malting barley acres are contracted. Heisel encourages farmers to be aware of the market and contact local elevators to ensure they have a home for their barley before they start planting.
Many all-malt beers are now produced, Heisel said. All brewers have such a product line in their mix, which can require different quality factors.
“The list has expanded significantly to include some of those varieties that would fit that niche,” Heisel said.
U.S. malting barley production typically ranges from 2 million acres to 2.5 million acres. “That’s probably where we need to be” to meet industry needs, Heisel said.
Dry conditions in some areas were a concern last year, but there was enough sub-soil moisture to carry the crop through, Heisel said. He expects similar or slightly increased acreage this year.
Heisel said the industry looks for factors such as disease resistance or improved winter hardiness to ensure that the crop has a good chance of making malting quality.
Malting barley harvest typically runs from early July for winter varieties to late September for spring varieties.
The full list of recommended malting barley varieties:
Two-row barleys: AAC Synergy, ABI Voyager, AC Metcalfe, CDC Copeland, Charles, Conlon, Conrad, Endeavor, Expedition, Explorer, Harrington, Hockett, LCS Genie, Merit 57, Moravian 37, Moravian 69, ND Genesis, Newdale, Pinnacle, Propino, Scarlett and Wintmalt.
Six-row varieties: Celebration, Innovation, Lacey, Legacy, Quest, Thoroughbred and Tradition.