Farm Progress

Prices are down about a dime per bushel for Minnesota growers.

Paula Mohr, Editor, The Farmer

January 30, 2017

2 Min Read
BARLEY OF CHOICE: Minnesota growers who grow contracted barley mostly raise the varieties Tradition, Lacey and Pinnacle.University of Minnesota, David L. Hansen

Contracted barley prices are down about 10 cents in 2017 from last year for Minnesota barley growers, says Marv Zutz, executive director of the Minnesota Barley Association.

The average contracted price in 2016 was around $4.75 per bushel, he says.

The state is still seeing new startup breweries, too.

“Craft beer demand is still pumping up the need for barley production,” Zutz says.

The Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild, founded in 2000 to promote Minnesota breweries, currently has 103 members, according to its website,

The American Malting Barley Association recently released its list of recommended malting barley varieties to U.S. growers. The list is meant to inform U.S. producers about the varieties of malting barley the industry intends to use in the upcoming year. Some varieties will be used in large quantities, and others are only used in niche markets. Thus, producers are encouraged to contact their local elevator, grain handler or processor to gauge market demand for any variety grown in their region prior to seeding.

Recommended malting barley varieties for 2017 are:

• Two-row barleys: AAC Synergy, Charles*, Harrington, Moravian 69, ABI Voyager, Conlon, Hockett, ND Genesis, AC Metcalfe, Conrad, LCS Genie, Pinnacle, CDC Copeland, Endeavor*, Merit 57, Scarlett, CDC Meredith, Expedition, Moravian 37 and Wintmalt*
• Six-row barleys: Celebration, Lacey, Quest, Thoroughbred*, Innovation, Legacy, Stellar-ND and Tradition
*winter barleys

Zutz says Minnesota producers mostly contract with the maltsters to grow Tradition, Lacey and Pinnacle. Some also grow Conlon and Genesis.

Two-row barley is generally thought to be the preference of craft brewers. Six-row barley is used more frequently by larger brewing operations.

Contrary to what wheat growers strive for — high protein — high-protein content in barley is undesirable. Starch, which is needed in the fermentation process, exists in barley grains in an inverse relationship with protein. So, as protein increases, starch decreases, and more grain is needed for a desired extract.

Quality barley generally contains 12% protein or less but may still be sold up to 13%.

In 2016, Minnesota’s total barley production of 5.21 million bushels was down 44% from 2015.


About the Author(s)

Paula Mohr

Editor, The Farmer

Mohr is former editor of The Farmer.

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