CULTIVATION OF MALTING BARLEY
Malting Barley Varieties
Barley varieties have unique properties that influence germination rates, protein content, grain size and malt quality. Malting barley seeds differ from other types of barley. One variety may be preferable to another, depending on regional climate.
To make an informed choice, we analyze the lots in order to choose the ones that have the best characteristics for the region. As the years go by and differ, we must constantly adjust the production according to what nature has to offer.
In Quebec, three varieties are well known and appreciated: Metcalf, New Dale and Synergy. Metcalf is losing ground because the other varieties are producing better yields. A fourth variety is making its debut on the market: Connect.
To find out which varieties we are currently using, visit our page, MALTS ET GRAINS.
Timely harvesting is necessary to optimize grain yield and quality, while minimizing risks such as sprouting on the stem.
- Make sure the grain is ripe before harvesting. The moisture content will be higher if harvested too soon, which requires careful drying and storage. To safely store barley grains a 13% maximum moisture content is required.
- Set the combine harvester properly to avoid skinning and cracking of the grains and minimize crop loss. Damaged kernels germinate unpredictably and are prone to mould and insects.
- Seeds left on the ground, due to lodging or poor adjustment of the combine harvester cannot be malted. They should not be harvested for malting but may be collected separately for other uses. They become conductive to hosting diseases, such as fusarium head blight (FHB), which causes the development of deoxynivalenol (DON).
Malting Barley Storage
Barley varieties are not mixed before malting. They have unique properties that influence malting and are better processed without being mixed.
Known hazards associated with grain storage include:
- Contact with water from leaks or humidity.
- High ambient temperature (38°C) especially for high moisture content grains.
- Microbial, insect or rodent infestations.
- Grain moisture caused by long storage periods at high humidity levels.
- Mechanical damage in grain handling.
Moisture content and temperature are the main factors that determine shelf life. Barley should have less than 13% moisture content for a year shelf life.
Grains with a moisture content greater than 14% can heat spontaneously and spoil quickly. Losing a barley silo is not an experience you want to repeat, believe us!
To prevent the formation of a “hot spot” in the silo, storage silos should be equipped with fans to maintain adequate humidity and temperature.
In hot weather, turning on the fans at night as the temperature drops, will allow cooler air to circulate through the grain.