Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Malting Barley

With a name like that you would think that I have some home brew going or something, which unfortunately I don't!

A week ago we completed barley harvest at the farm.  It was the same time that we were hosting our Norwegian guests, so it was quite busy!  Needless to say, I didn’t get as many photos as I would typically to document such an event, but hopefully you get an idea.

Ripe barley ready for harvest.

Barley is not as commonly a produced crop in our area as it has been in the past.  Small grains like wheat and barley are still being grown, but other crops like corn and soybeans have increased production due to their ever increasing prices, and because barley is slightly more prone to disease.

Barley on left.  Corn on right.

As with all crops you are gambling with production inputs, weather, grain markets, etc.  It is most profitable to grow malting barley (BEER!) than it is to produce feed barley.  There is no difference in what you put into the ground - how it grows is what determines whether it “makes malting.”  Malting barley has less protein and more plumpness of kernels than barley used as feed for livestock.  You don’t know exactly what you have until you harvest it and bring it to the elevator!

Photo courtesy of Sandra Ohma.

Fortunately, our barley is of malting quality…or so we think.  It tested well at the elevator, but Cargill still has to test for vomitoxin once they receive it.  At least it is harvested and no longer in the field!

Please support your local barley farmers and have a cold one.


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