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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US Barley – Feed Grain to Specialty Crop

Barley has gone from being a major feed grain to a specialty food crop in the last twenty-five years.  While there are still a few areas, primarily corn deficient regions, in the US that utilize barley for livestock, barley’s major use is for malting.  This malt makes its way into many of the cereals, crackers and baked goods that we eat and of course, the beer and other malt beverages that we drink.  This shift to a higher value food crop has occurred as acreage has declined and barley’s value has increased.

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US Barley – Feed Grain to Specialty Crop

Barley has gone from being a major feed grain to a specialty food crop in the last twenty-five years.  While there are still a few areas, primarily corn deficient regions, in the US that utilize barley for livestock, barley’s major use is for malting.  This malt makes its way into many of the cereals, crackers and baked goods that we eat and of course, the beer and other malt beverages that we drink.  This shift to a higher value food crop has occurred as acreage has declined and barley’s value has increased.

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