Malting Barley Harvest Report for Germany 2018 December
Ladies and Gentlemen.
The spring barley crop season of 2018 was marked by an extreme lack of precipitation during the summer months, resulting in a very inhomogeneous brewing barley harvest across all German growing areas. The unevenness of the results also meant that any reliable summary data about the crop became available only very late. This is also why the Braugersten-Gemeinschaft e.V. (German Malting Barley Association) is issuing its 2018 crop report later than usual. As in the past, this report is based on random samples of the German spring barley harvest collected by the various Agriculture Institutes and Chambers of Agriculture in the German states. The data in the attached table represents average values from the individual federal states, which are aggregated from analyses conducted by the various state authorities, as well as from inspections carried out by traders at the point of purchase. Because of the heterogeneity of the harvest, individual data points, too, were spread very broadly. Therefore, average values do not always reflect the reality of the commodity as it is traded in the supply chain. The table features, as far as available, a breakdown of spring barley volumes in terms of their protein content to demonstrate the wide range of this value this past year. This illustrates the challenges faced by buyers of 2018 spring barley, as well as the difficulties of storing and processing it.
This year’s total Germany spring barley acreage was about 450,000 ha, which amounts to a 30% increase over the previous year, when the area was 340,000 ha. In spite of this increase, however, the difficult weather conditions caused the harvest volume to be roughly the same as the year before. In both years, it was about 1.25 million metric tons (MT). The numerical average for the 2018 protein content is 11.1%, which is an indication that many fields produced barley well outside the desired range for malting-quality barley. In the table, a comparison between the harvested barley volumes with protein levels of 11.5% to 12.5% and those exceeding 12.5% clearly makes that point. Many users of brewing barley, therefore, simply had no choice but to make quality concessions; and large amounts of barley still had to be rejected.
The average yield of the crop was 5.02 MT/ha this year, while it was 5.53 MT/ha the previous year. Once again, the table reveals great variations in yield from one state to the next. Overall, this year’s volume of plump spring barley (with a kernel diameter of ≥2.5 mm) as a share of the total barley crop averaged across all German states was relatively high at 91.4%. This was similar to last year’s value, which was 92.4%. However, there were also several positive effects of the hot and dry weather during the plants’ maturation phase. Phytosanitary conditions in the fields were mostly optimal; diseases were relatively absent; and the crop’s appearance was generally flawless. The great regional variation of the crop and the resulting relative scarcity of malting-quality barley not only forced many users to make concessions with respect to protein content, but also to be choosier in their selection of varieties. The main spring barley varieties planted in Germany in 2018 were Avalon, Quench, Soloist, RGT Planet, and Catamaran.
For the Braugersten-Gemeinschaft e.V.