1st Malting Barley Harvest Report for Germany 2016
This first 2016 malting barley crop report by Braugersten-Gemeinschaft e.V. (German Malting Barley Association) is based on sample evaluations of this year’s spring barley crop conducted by the various Agriculture Institutes and Chambers of Agriculture in the German states. The total acreage of German spring barley has been revised downward by about 7% to 341,000 ha, which is roughly the same as in 2014.
The year started out under optimal conditions with dense stands planted early in the season. Changeable weather in April provided adequate moisture in the soil for the seeds to develop evenly and vigorously up to the emergence phase. Until mid-May, cool temperatures and cold nights prevailed. Then followed a period of very changeable weather with persistent and sometimes severe rains, which were the determining factor for the crop’s development toward maturity.
Some of the harvested stocks went immediately into storage bins because, in many fields, it was often impossible to carry out phytosanitary measures at optimal times. By the time the stocks reached the final ripening phase, the water supply was good to very good. However, there was also a noticeable gradient in quality and phytosanitary from east to west, which was already apparent during early field inspections.
The average yield of German spring barley this year is pegged at 5.42 MT/ha. It was 5.39 MT last year. Especially in the east, center, and south of the country, this favorable yield value exceeded expectations; however, it did not make up for the reduction in acreage. The total harvest for 2016 is currently estimated to be approximately 1.8 million MT. It was 1.9 million MT the previous year. The prevailing weather conditions throughout the season allowed for an advantageous distribution of nitrogen in the ground, which made it easy for the plants to absorb nitrogen. The average protein content of the current harvest, however, is only 10.2%, which is slightly lower than the previous year’s 10.6%.
In almost all growing areas, the sorting is disappointing, with average plumpness values of only 84.6%, compared to 92.1% the previous year. Experts attribute this lower-than-expected value to a lack of photosynthesis, for which they blame insufficient sunlight, waterlogging, and the fickle weather conditions.
During the harvest, there were frequent interruptions because of rain and unsettled weather. In some late maturing regions, the harvest got under way only in the second week of August, when a stable high-pressure system and high summer temperatures dominated the weather.
Industry experts currently expect the amount of 2016 malting barley to be about 1.2 million MT. However, this figure might need to be scaled down once crop processing starts, which will allow for further insights into the crop’s phytosanitary health and into the gushing potential of individual lots.
The main spring barley varieties planted in Germany in 2016 were Avalon, Catamaran, Quench, Soloist, and Propino.