Crop Report #1: German 2017 Spring Barley
Ladies and Gentlemen.
Based on preliminary assessments by the German state agricultural associations involved
with brewing barley, the Braugersten-Gemeinschaft e.V. (German Malting Barley
Association) has compiled an overview of summer barley plantings expected for the
cultivation year 2017. The acreages listed in the attached table are expert estimates based
on seed sales and on-site surveys. Official statistics relating to the actual area under
cultivation are not yet available.
Average temperatures in Germany in the winter of 2016/2017 were 0.9 °C (approximately
33.6 °F). This is 0.7 °C (approximately 1.3 °F) above the long-term average of for the
reference years 1961 to 1990. Aggregate rainfall was measured at 115 liters per square
meter (4.53 inches), which was only 64% of the long-term average of 181 liters per square
meter (7.13 inches). Most of that precipitation fell in solid form, which means that higher
elevations were covered with a stable blanket of snow. Especially in the south of Germany,
many fields with snow cover were also hit by severe frosts. Periods of sunshine reached an
aggregate of 210 hours in Germany in the winter of 2016/2017, which is about 136% of the
normal of 155 hours. This makes the past winter the sunniest on record since the
compilation of such comprehensive data was started in 1951.
Brewing barley state organizations now forecast a total area of spring barley cultivation in
Germany of about 340,000 ha (roughly 840,000 acres). The state of Mecklenburg-
Vorpommern saw an unusually large amount of spring barley planting last year because of
prior damage to winter wheat, rapeseed, and barley. This year, acreage figures in that state
have returned to the level of 2015 of about 12,000 ha (29, 650 acres). This decrease,
however, is almost made up by an increase this year in spring barley cultivation in Bavaria. In
all other German states, the cultivation areas for spring barley have remained fairly
unchanged from the previous year. Plantings are in full swing and are expected to be mostly
completed by the end of March. Very low temperatures in January, which occasionally
reached -15 °C (5 °F), produced plenty of frost tilth for good spoil structures. The low
moisture level in the soil allowed the fields to dry quickly so that early planting could
proceed under general good to optimum soil conditions. Roughly half the expected 2017
spring barley acreage had been planted at the time of this report; and many of the seeds
were already at or slightly past their imbibition and emergence stage.
The varieties favored by growers this year have all been recommended by the Berlin
Program. They are mainly Avalon, Solist, Quench, and Catamaran. The variety RGT Planet,
however, is largely being phased out for processing by the German brewing industry. However, it is still being cultivated on a small scale in several of the German states.
The next German spring barley crop report of the German Malting Barley Association will be released around the middle of May.
For the Braugersten-Gemeinschaft e.V.
Attachment: 1st German 2017 Spring Brewing Barley Crop Report.