USDA-ARS Malting Barley Breeding in Idaho

Posted : 2014-05-07

Malting barley production in the western United States was dominated by two-rowed varieties introduced from Europe until the release of the variety Klages in 1973.  There are numerous reasons for this, but two stand out.  Breeding programs focused on feed varieties during prohibition so it was some time before they were able to incorporate the desired malting and brewing quality into varieties adapted to the region.  Secondly, 90% of the malt US brewers were using in the 1950s was made from six-row varieties, so European two-row varieties like Betzes from Poland, Moravian from Czechoslovakia, and Piroline from Germany were able to supply the industry with all the two-row it needed.

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