A total of 20 participants from Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Canada and Norway attended the Institute of Barley and Malt Sciences fourth annual Barley Field School at NDSU July 20-23. The group included farmers planning to grow malting barley; educators and researchers from Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania; emerging and established brewing and malting company employees and owners; specialty grain marketers; and international malting and brewing entrepreneurs.
The school covers information on botanical and physiological factors in barley growth, grain handling and storage information specific to malting barley, risk management and marketing and practical advice from barley growers in North Dakota. The first school was offered in 2012 and attendance has increased steadily each year since.
Lectures and presenters included:
• "The Effect of Soil on Barley Growth and Quality," R. Jay Goos, NDSU soil scientist
• "Barley Breeding and Growing Practices and Effect on Malt Quality," Richard Horsley, NDSU barley breeder
• "Barley Harvest and Storage," Kenneth Hellevang, NDSU agriculture engineering specialist
• "North Dakota Foundation Seed Program and How to Find Barley Seed," Gonzalo Rojas-Cifuentes, ND Foundation Seedstocks assistant director
• "Barley Malt Quality," Paul Schwarz, NDSU barley and malt quality specialist
• "Cropping Decisions and How Farmers Decide to Grow Barley," Andy Swenson, NDSU agribusiness and applied economics specialist
• "Malt Barley Markets," William Wilson, NDSU University Distinguished Professor of agribusiness and applied economics
Tours and activities included the NDSU Agriculture Experiment Station Greenhouse, NDSU Barley and Malt Quality Labs, NDSU Barley Pathology Nursery and research plots, the NDSU Commodity Trading Room, a commercial elevator facility and a small grain farm in central North Dakota.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistics Service, North Dakota has long ranked as one of the top barley producing states in the country. NDSU is the only university that has a fully integrated barley program, including two-rowed and six-rowed barley breeding programs, barley pathology and barley and malt quality research programs.
Barley production has gradually moved to the western part of the U.S. due to disease and competition from other crops. However, in recent years the craft brewing and local food production trends have led to increased interest in growing barley in eastern states.
This fall, Schwarz also is offering an in-depth course on malting and brewing. Barley and Malting Quality: A Field to Brewhouse Perspective is set for Oct. 12-15. The Institute of Barley and Malt Sciences, the Northern Crops Institute and the Master Brewers Association of the Americas are partnering to offer the course.
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