Malting Barley FAQ's

Why Winter Malting Barley?

One aspect that makes Ohio and our neighboring Great Lakes, Midwestern, and Northeastern state regions attractive for winter malting barley cultivation is that soil moisture levels are usually non-limiting at seedling establishment in autumn and during grain-fill, and under non-limiting moisture conditions extremely high quality grain for malting purposes can be obtained. Long-term studies indicate that including winter wheat in the crop rotation cycle with corn and soybeans increases corn yields the years corn is grown (Nafziger, 2007). Winter barley presents an opportunity to double crop, particularly in the more southern regions of the state.

What is the effect of excess Nitrogen on a malting barley crop?

Excess nitrogen can lead to lodging. Lodging is when the stem is displaced from the upright position; i.e., the plant falls over before harvest. Lodging can lead to significant yield losses. Excess nitrogen can also lead to high grain protein levels, which causes problems in the brewhouse, particularly haze formation in the final product. Differences between varieties exist, and breeders work to develop lodging-resistant, low protein varieties, but extremes in environmental conditions can overwhelm the genetic capabilities possessed by the best varieties. ~Read more

What are some key points for harvesting and storing malting barley?

Barley is harvested between late June and early July – about two weeks before wheat. Barley can be harvested with the same combine head used for soybean and wheat. The same combine used for corn may be used for barley but corn uses a different combine head, so a combine head for barley will be required. It is important to realize that the quality of the grain is of utmost importance to meet malting standards – damaged grain or grain that has poor germinability is not suitable for malting because malting is the germination process. Kernels should not be broken or damaged and the husk should remain tightly-adhered to the grain An excellent discussion on drying barley for the highest quality grain is put out by the American Malting Barley Association, Inc., Institute for Barley and Malt Sciences, & North Dakota State University (American Malting Barley Association Inc. et al.). Desiccants should never be used for drying malting barley. Barley dried with the use of desiccants will be rejected by the malting and brewing industry.

What other resources and recommended readings are available?

Please check out our External Links page for additional resources. Recommended readings can be found here.