USDA Gets Additional Barley and Wheat Research Funding

Milwaukee, WI – May 18, 2017 – Congress sent the President a 2017 fiscal year budget that he signed on May 5, 2017.  Sometimes called an Omnibus because it contains a large collection of appropriation bills, this one contained a few increases for USDA programs.  Barley and wheat research got a boost in funding for the Agricultural Research Service’s (ARS) US Wheat and Barley Scab Initiative (USWBSI) and Small Grains Genomic Initiative (SGGI).  Small grains researchers will be better able to provide growers and end users with varieties that mitigate production risks with the increased support.

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Expanded Malting Barley Research in the East Benefits Entire US

Milwaukee, WI – May 4, 2017 – The interest in growing malting barley has expanded across the US in the last several years and necessitated the need for additional crop research.  This research ranges from trials to find current cultivars suitable for a new region, to breeding programs developing new varieties with the disease resistance and other traits to allow for profitable production.  The American Malting Barley Association (AMBA) has helped to foster this research whenever its resources have allowed it to do so.

The growth in the number of brewers and distillers in the eastern US, and the movement to source ingredients locally has created a new market for malting barley in the region.  Some states have added tax incentives to further cultivate these markets.  Malting companies and farmers are searching for the malting cultivars that have the desired quality and will grow in the region.

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International hub to develop barley’s full potential

Dundee, Scotland – February 13, 2017 – Assured supplies of safe, high quality, and affordable barley are the outcome of decades of consistent research and development: the future depends on continued and upgraded research efforts to give farmers profitable varieties appropriate to different markets, by combatting issues arising from the relatively narrow gene pool of current varieties and radically shortening development times for new varieties.

The James Hutton Institute – a world-leading research centre based in Scotland, United Kingdom – is set to make this change by collaborating with industry and academy to establish a unique platform for the translation of barley research into commercial benefits for the entire brewing, distilling and food value chain, with very important implications for food security worldwide.

The initiative aims to develop a commercially-focused innovation centre, which would also serve as a training and development ground for barley research skills at an international level. It builds on the critical mass available at the James Hutton Institute and the co-located barley group from the University of Dundee which together are already considered a world-leading barley research cluster, and the concentration of growers, maltsters, distillers and processors in the vicinity.  The James Hutton Institute has a long history of collaborating with the worldwide barley research community, including those in the US.

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Increasing Barley Selection for Malting Through Research

The mission of the American Malting Barley Association (AMBA) is to encourage and support an adequate supply of high quality malting barley for end users.  The primary strategy in achieving this is the development of new varieties with an increased chance of making industry malting quality specifications, often referred to as selection rate.  Barley breeders have been meeting this challenge …?

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Barley Researchers from Around the World Meet in Minneapolis

A very successful 12th International Barley Genetics Symposium (IBGS) was held in Minneapolis, MN June 26-30, 2016.  It was a worldwide gathering with over 300 barley researchers representing 30 countries and all the continents except Antarctica.  The last time the IBGS was held in the US was 1969, when Washington State University in Pullman, WA hosted the second symposium…

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Barley Breeding Getting a Boost From USDA Laboratories

Milwaukee, WI – May 10, 2016 – New DNA marker technologies have the ability to rapidly and efficiently monitor the transfer of traits into new barley selections.  The per analysis costs of these technologies are generally far less than traditional field or greenhouse testing, but the capital investment required to set up a facility, or to keep up with the changing technology, is high.  Congress provided a solution to this by providing funding for the USDA-Agricultural Research Service (ARS) to set up four regional laboratories (Fargo, ND; Manhattan, KS; Pullman, WA; Raleigh, NC) with the equipment and staff to genotype small grains for public breeders across the country.  The regional aspect of the labs allows them to effectively address priority traits and yield limitations for specific production areas.

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AMBA Opposes Post-Heading Treatments on Grains

MILWAUKEE – April 20, 2016 – The American Malting Barley Association, Inc. (AMBA) strongly opposes the use of desiccants or herbicides such as glyphosate for post-heading treatment of malting barley, wheat, or other grains in North America being processed for malting, brewing, and distilling.  The AMBA Board of Directors cites concerns expressed by the organization’s Technical Committee for potential chemical residues and effects on germination from such treatments that can impact processing or the quality of the final product.  Glyphosate is not labeled for post-heading application on malting barley in the United States as a pre-harvest aid to kill weeds, as a desiccant to dry down the crop, or for any other reason.

Dr. Michael P. Davis, AMBA President, notes that “our members will not knowingly buy malting barley, wheat or other grains, regardless of the grain’s origin, that are treated after heading with these chemicals and residue testing is being performed.”

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Growers and Industry Advocate for Barley

Washington, DC – February 10, 2016 – The producers and end-users of barley met February 1-3, 2016 in Washington, DC to promote the interests of barley.  The National Barley Growers Association (NBGA), which has historically been funded by state grower organizations, now gets at least half of its support from brewing end users and life science companies.  Interest from end users has increased as barley has gone from being a major feed grain to being primarily processed into malt for use by the food, beer and distilling industries.

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The University of Minnesota Diversifies It’s Barley Program

St. Paul – November 17, 2015 – The University of Minnesota (UM) has played an integral part in the development of malting barley for over a century.  In the early part of the 20th century, this land grant institution cooperated with USDA Division of Cereal and Disease scientists located in St. Paul and participated in the evaluation of germplasm for its adaptation to upper Midwest growing conditions.  Much of this work was done by Dr. Harry Harlan who received his PhD from UM while working for the USDA.  The released varieties were mostly six-rows of the Manchurian type, that did well in Minnesota, but also included Trebi which became a dominant six-row malting barley in the western US and Alpha, a two-row variety that was popular in New York and New England.

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New Barley Crop Insurance by the North Dakota Barley Council

Milwaukee – July 20, 2015 – The American Malting Barley Association (AMBA) congratulates the North Dakota Barley Council (NDBC) on the Malting Barley Revenue Endorsement that will be available to barley growers in 2016.  It has taken a number of years from the initial conception to final approval of the USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA), but well worth the wait.  What started out as an alternative pilot program for North Dakota growers, has expanded to a comprehensive insurance product for all producers in the US that can currently insure barley for malting quality.

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