1st Malting Barley Harvest Report for Germany 2017 incl. Summery
After several recent field trips and informational events in the German brewing barley-growing regions, agricultural bureaus and organizations in the different German states have released evaluations of barley samples and early harvest assessments. Based on these, the Braugersten-Gemeinschaft e.V. (German Brewing Barley Association) is now in a position to publish its first preliminary harvest forecast for 2017.
The acreage of spring brewing barley under cultivation in Germany has remained fairly stable at roughly 340,000 ha. The growing season started with early and compact plantings in mid-March, at which time the soils had dried out and conditions were optimal. There was enough moisture in the ground to allow for an even emergence of the plants. In response to a precipitation deficit from the months prior to planting and a subsequent lack of spring rainfall, the plants focused on developing strong roots. Temperatures remained cool until early May, which caused the plants to grow at a moderate rate. In all of May, rainfall remained at sub-average levels. Nonetheless, tillering turned out to be satisfactory.
At the beginning of June, temperatures switched. They rose to above 30 °C, and the stocks suffered some damage, especially in fields with light soils. Just in time for the inflorescence and heading phase, however, the plants finally received sufficient precipitation to develop plump kernels. The predominantly dry and warm weather during much of the growing season had eased overall disease pressure and kept pest infestations in check. Any required plant protection measures could be carried out at optimum times.
German brewing barley experts now expect the 2017 harvest to be average and healthy. Because Nmin target values were already high in the spring and subsequently very little nitrogen leached into deeper soil layers. As a result, the projected average yield of brewing barley per hectare is expected to show slightly elevated protein values.
In regions with early plantings, the harvest began in mid-July, when summer temperatures peaked. Early quality analyses of these fields confirm the current harvest forecast, but they are not yet reliable enough for firm prognoses. Later plantings ripened at an accelerated rate, and in some fields, especially in the west and southwest of the country, seed heads even reached the over-ripe stage. The harvest was also briefly interrupted by heavy rain during the last week of July. Therefore, in late-harvest areas, the harvest is not expected to be completed until August 2.
Overall, the amount of available German brewing barley is estimated to be roughly the same as last year’s. However, carry-over stocks are not at the same confidence-inspiring level they were only a year ago. The average plumpness rate (≥ 2.5 mm kernel diameter) for this year’s German brewing barley is expected to be above 90 percent.
The key two-row spring barley varieties planted in Germany this year were Avalon, Solist, Grace, and RGT Planet.
For the Braugersten-Gemeinschaft e.V.