It has been estimated that the malting industry will require up to half of the spring barley crops grown in Ireland this year.

Teagasc-Boortmalt joint programme advisor, Eoin Lyons has profiled the management priorities for malting barley crops over the coming weeks as part of the Tillage Edge podcast.

Spring barley is Ireland’s largest cereal crop and is the backbone of production on many farms.

Management is critical to ensure that crops meet the specifications and bonuses on offer.


According to Lyons, the vast bulk of this year’s malting barley acreage has been sown out.

“There have been exceptional weather conditions over the past number of weeks. The first crops were sown out at the beginning of February on very free draining land.

“For the most part, drilling got underway in and around March 18 and 19.

“There had been a significant amount of rain impacting on fields for the month or so prior to this. So it took a few extra days to allow seed beds to fully dry out.”

Lyons went on to emphasise the need for malting barley to be drilled into suitably prepared seed beds.

“I know that growers want to get the barley into the ground as early as possible,” he said.

“But sowing-by date can lead to problems. The bottom line is that new crops must be drilled into a well prepared seed bed.”

The Boortmalt representative confirmed that malting crops sown out in mid-March are now starting to show above ground.

“There were some heavy frosts at the beginning of April. But for the most part, emergence has been excellent,” he said. 

“Crops have also benefited from the rain that has fallen over the past few days. Seed beds have dried out a bit, subsequent to drilling.”

Lyons specifically referenced a crop of Planet, sown out in Co. Kilkenny at a seed rate of 280kg/ha on March 18.

“The average plant count is sitting at 305/m2. This is well above the target plant population that would be required to grow a good crop of malting barley.

“Thus equates to a 93% establishment rate – the target is 85%. A lot of the crops emerging now are in this bracket. And this represents an excellent result.”

Lyons also confirmed that the higher grain weights of the malting barley seed sown out over recent weeks has helped both germination and establishment rates.