Over 1,100ha of winter malting barley was sown last autumn. Winter malting barley has been grown in trial in Ireland since 2018 and is expected to play a key part in Boortmalt’s plans to increase malt output.

Around 1,000ha of the area is sown to Craft and 100ha to Electrum. This year Boortmalt is also trialling Vessel (20ha) and the BYDV tolerant variety Joyau (34ha). The grain from these varieties will be tested to see how they perform in the malting process and if the quality of malt produced meets the standards required by maltsters. Pixel was grown on trial last year but did not meet the required malting specifications.

In addition to this, approximately 130ha of the spring variety Laureate was sown last autumn.

Big plans

With the expanding drinks industry requiring increased quantities of malting barley, Boortmalt hope to meet this demand by increasing their area of true winter malting barley.

Since 2018, the area of winter malting barley continues to increase. While winter malting barley has been grown in the UK, it is still a relatively new crop in Ireland and thus, little was known about managing the crop in Irish conditions.

In order to address this, the Teagasc/Boortmalt joint programme are running plot trials this year to evaluate the performance of each winter malting variety currently available. They will also test the impact of various nitrogen levels on these varieties. This trial is also being replicated on a field-scale on farms in Laois, Kildare and Wexford.

For more on winter malting barley read this week’s Irish Farmers Journal.