Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Scientific Communities
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article

Interest Brews in Reviving Malted Barley Crop

Published: Tuesday, July 09, 2013
Last Updated: Tuesday, July 09, 2013
Bookmark and Share
The farm brewery law adopted last year by the New York State Legislature is creating new demand for an old crop: malted barley.

In return for sourcing at least 25 percent of their hops and 40 percent of all other ingredients from New York farms, brewers can receive a lower cost, simplified license. In 10 years, that ratio will increase incrementally to 90 percent.

Farmers eager to seize the opportunity have turned to Cornell plant breeder Mark Sorrells for advice about how to start – a recent rainy field day at Musgrave Research Farm in Aurora attracted nearly 50 farmers, and an eclectic mix of farmers, millers, brewers, distillers and malt house owners attended another Hudson Valley event last week.

But Sorrells, professor of plant breeding, doesn’t have much information to share yet. Hampered by budget cuts, he can’t afford to start breeding his own regionally adapted varieties, so he’s testing existing varieties, most bred for Europe or the Midwest. Of the 40 varieties he’s tested so far over the past year, three winter malting barleys have stood out as having potential for the Northeast.

“Usually I don’t make recommendations until we have at least three years of data, as every year is different, especially in New York. But there are so many people out there desperate for information that we are going to make some preliminary recommendations after this year,” Sorrells said. “The New York State Legislature saw the opportunity to develop an industry, but they didn’t foresee the lack of information on malting varieties in New York.”

The 119 breweries in New York used an estimated 32 million pounds of malt in 2012, and the state’s existing five malt houses are processing about a ton of malted barley a week – which barely meets the needs of a single small brewery.

“We have nowhere near the malting volume we need to service all the local brewers; we could probably use 10 times that much,” Sorrells said.

So what is he telling farmers?

Don’t start growing malting barley until you have a relationship with a buyer, and know that growing malting barley is different than growing feed barley for livestock.

“It’s like a completely different grain; the varieties are different, management is different, harvesting is different, marketing is different,” Sorrells said. “People interested in getting involved with malting barley have a lot of things to learn.” For example, such farmers need to apply less nitrogen fertilizer than usual, harvest on time and dry at a proper temperature.

In addition to Sorrells’ field trials, other researchers at Cornell – including plant pathologist Gary Bergstrom and extension specialists Bill Verbeten, Mike Stanyard and Kevin Ganoe – are investigating fertilizer management, soil conditions, weed, insect and disease control.

The so-called “vomitoxin,” which occurs when plants are infested with fusarium head blight, is one of the diseases believed to have driven barley out of production in New York decades ago, when grains and hops once dominated the landscape.

Despite the challenges, premium prices might make the venture worthwhile for some farmers, Sorrells said. Other things could also mitigate the risks. It’s possible to squeeze two crops into each year, planting summer crops after the winter varieties are harvested. And those growing organic grains have a potential backup should their barley fail malting standards: the emerging market for organic livestock feed.

Further Information
Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 2,800+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More Than 4,000+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters

Sign In

Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Scientific News
High Throughput Mass Spectrometry-Based Screening Assay Trends
Dr John Comley provides an insight into HT MS-based screening with a focus on future user requirements and preferences.
How a Genetic Locus Protects Adult Blood-Forming Stem Cells
Mammalian imprinted Gtl2 protects adult hematopoietic stem cells by restricting metabolic activity in the cells' mitochondria.
Genetic Basis of Fatal Flu Side Effect Discovered
A group of people with fatal H1N1 flu died after their viral infections triggered a deadly hyperinflammatory disorder in susceptible individuals with gene mutations linked to the overactive immune response, according to a recent study.
New Tech Vastly Improves CRISPR/Cas9 Accuracy
A new CRISPR/Cas9 technology developed by scientists at UMass Medical School is precise enough to surgically edit DNA at nearly any genomic location, while avoiding potentially harmful off-target changes typically seen in standard CRISPR gene editing techniques.
The MaxSignal Colistin ELISA Test Kit from Bioo Scientific
Kit can help prevent the antibiotic apocalypse by keeping last resort drugs out of the food supply.
"Good" Mozzie Virus Might Hold Key to Fighting Human Disease
Australian scientists have discovered a new virus carried by one of the country’s most common pest mosquitoes.
Non-Disease Proteins Kill Brain Cells
Scientists at the forefront of cutting-edge research into neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s have shown that the mere presence of protein aggregates may be as important as their form and identity in inducing cell death in brain tissue.
Closing the Loop on an HIV Escape Mechanism
Research team finds that protein motions regulate virus infectivity.
New Class of RNA Tumor Suppressors Identified
Two short, “housekeeping” RNA molecules block cancer growth by binding to an important cancer-associated protein called KRAS. More than a quarter of all human cancers are missing these RNAs.
Potential Treatment for Life-Threatening Viral Infections Revealed
The findings point to new therapies for Dengue, West Nile and Ebola.
Scroll Up
Scroll Down
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
2,800+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,000+ scientific videos