Why the malting barley list is important for the development of the sector

The recommended list for malting barley was reintroduced in 2011 and growers and malsters are seeing the benefits.

The list has allowed some varieties to remain in the malting category, which would not make it onto the traditional spring barley list.

These varieties may often have good micro-brewing characteristics, but could have a lower relative yields than some of the feed varieties.

For example, Laureate and Olympus were more suited to the malting barley list, while RGT Planet can sit quite happily on both lists (relative yield of 107).

One thing that got people talking at the recent Teagasc Malting Barley Conference was the fact that many of these varieties have low straw lodging and breakdown scores.

Varieties on the spring barley list have scores for straw breakdown and resistance to lodging of between five and seven. However, varieties on the malting barley recommended list have scores of between three and five.

Growers should take these factors into account when planning agronomy and choosing a variety when there’s a choice.

More research being carried out

The Department of Agriculture’s Seamus Kearney spoke at the event and he stated that the department introduced trials on distilling barley three years ago and will have two sites this year.

This is important as it allows varieties to be tested in a distilling situation. Four malting barley trials are carried out each year. Malting barley trials receive 128 units of nitrogen per acre, while distilling barley trials receive 102 units of nitrogen per acre.

He also stated that the department is investigating the possibility of examining seed rate and lodging in its trials.