42ND Barley Improvement Conference Held

Albuquerque, NM – January 17, 2019 –  A successful 42ND biennial Barley Improvement Conference was held in Albuquerque, NM, January 9-10, 2019.  The conference has been hosted by the American Malting Barley Association (AMBA) and its predecessor organizations since the 1940s and brings together participants representing the whole malting barley supply chain including researchers, growers and end users.  This year’s meeting was also sponsored by the Idaho Barley Commission, Minnesota Barley Research & Promotion Council, Montana Grain Growers Association, Montana Wheat & Barley Committee, National Barley Growers Association, North Dakota Barley Council, and Washington Grain Commission.

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AMBA Announces Recommended Malting Barley Varieties for 2019

Milwaukee – January 3, 2019 – Each year, the American Malting Barley Association (AMBA) releases its list of recommended malting barley varieties to US growers.  AMBA is a nonprofit trade association of 76 brewing, distilling and malting companies that are end users of US malting barley.  The list is meant to inform US producers which malting barley varieties the industry intends to use in the upcoming year.  Some varieties will be used in large quantities and others are only utilized is niche markets, so producers are encouraged to contact their local elevator, grain handler or processor to gauge market demand for any variety grown in their region prior to seeding.

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AMBA RECOMMENDED VARIETIES – June, 2018 Update

At their June 6, 2018 meeting, the American Malting Barley Association (AMBA) Board of Directors added Puffin to the recommended list of malting barley varieties.
Puffin, a winter two-row, was released in 1987 by The Miln Marsters Group, Kings Lynn, Norfolk UK which is now part of Limagrain Cereal Seeds.  It has been tested extensively in Ohio and has strong straw with winter-hardiness superior to Charles and Endeavor.  The Ohio State University barley breeder, Dr. Eric Stockinger, notes that “Puffin consistently performs well in Ohio…

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A Focus on Malting Barley Markets

Milwaukee, WI – May 3, 2018 – Barley remains an important feed grain, but recent years have seen a much higher portion of the crop going for malting.  Coinciding with the rise of malting barley as the dominate use, has been an increase in the processes and products made from malt.  A diverse number of malt products can be made from a single variety of barley through changes to the malting process, but many applications require the development of new varieties.  The American Malting Barley Association (AMBA) provides funding for malting barley researchers across the country and communicates the needs of the different segments of the industry.

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Golden Triangle Barley Update Provides Vision for the Future

Conrad, MT – February 20, 2018 – The future direction of the barley industry was the emphasis of discussion at the February 15 Golden Triangle Barley Update in Conrad.  The triennial event is a collaboration between MSU Extension and industry representatives.  Nearly 75 growers and industry representatives from across the Golden Triangle braved the winter roads on the way to Conrad to hear from experts.

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US Malting Barley Industry Moving Towards Two-Row Varieties

The North American malting barley industry has undergone some significant changes in the last quarter century.  There has been a decline in the area planted to barley, particularly feed types, an increase in direct contracting with producers, and a shift toward two-row varieties.

The industry was founded on the production of six-rowed varieties.  Early production was concentrated near the large brewing centers in the eastern half of the continent and growers found that the available six-row varieties performed best in these humid regions.  Brewers too, favored these varieties which had quality attributes best suited to making the beer that the public was drinking.

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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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