University of Arkansas, Fayetteville Division of Agriculture


Barley, harvest date, 6-row barley, 2-row barley, Northwest Arkansas


Due to the strict quality requirements, only 10% of worldwide barley is used for malting, though malting quality barley comes with a price increase of up to 50% or greater. With the craft brewery industry growing in Northwest Arkansas there is a growing demand for locally sourced malt quality barley. However, data are lacking regarding production practices for barley in Arkansas. The optimal harvest date for malting quality barley is at physiological maturity. This is because many of the malting traits (such as germination energy) decline as harvest is delayed, which make it difficult to meet the criteria for malting quality if the barley is left in the field. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of harvest date on the malting quality of barley grown in Northwest Arkansas, specifically, the effect of harvest date on barley seed quality characteristics that impact malting and the interaction of harvest date and cultivar. Harvest date, cultivar, and in many cases the interaction of harvest date and cultivar were significant for grain yield, test weight, water sensitivity, germination energy, and germination capacity. There was no significant variation between cultivars for protein content. In general, all malting quality traits decreased with delayed harvest and the decrease at 21 days after physiological maturity was statistically significant. Of the cultivars tested, Thoroughbred was closest to meeting the criteria for malting quality, having the greatest grain yield, while maintaining germination energy and capacity into a later harvest date.