Did winter malting varieties make the cut on protein?

True winter malting varieties were trialed as part of the Boortmalt/Teagasc joint programme this season. The varieties – Pixel and Craft – were grown on the programme’s monitor farms.

Winter barley can provide a yield advantage over spring barley. The varieties needed to be examined for malting specifications.

Early indications from the trials, according to Teagasc, are that the varieties yielded well.

Both varieties differed on protein, but both met the specifications. The protein content of Craft ranged between 9.8% and 10.8%, while Pixel had lower protein levels at 8.5-10.8%.

Protein specifications at Boortmalt:
  • Brewing barley: 9.4-10.8%;
  • Distilling barley: ≤9.3%.

Earlier in the season, AgriLand attended one of the programme’s crop walks on James Kelly’s farm in Co. Carlow. Both varieties were planted on the farm and the plan at that stage was to apply nitrogen (N) at a rate of 140 units/ac across three splits.

40 units/ac (50kg/ha) at the beginning of March; 54 units/ac (67kg/ha) at GS30; and the remainder before GS 31 – 43 units/ac (54kg/ha).

Using winter barley varieties in malting barley production could help to increase farmers’ profits as there is more yield potential and harvest can take place earlier in the season.

Early harvest may also reduce the risk of failing germination requirements as days are longer and weather may be drier earlier in the season. Further research will test the crop’s viability.