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Rows of barley bask in the summer sun near Warroad, Minn. on Thursday, August 2, 2018. Nick Nelson / Agweek

Revisions to 2019 barley list won’t affect ND farmers

The American Malting Barley Association has made some changes in the varieties that it wants barley farmers to grow. But the changes won't affect North Dakota farmers, said Steve Edwardson, executive administrator of the North Dakota Barley Council.

The Milwaukee-based American Malting Barley Association, the nonprofit trade association of 76 brewing, distilling and malting companies, annually releases its list of recommended malting barley varieties. The list tells U.S. barley farmers the varieties that the industry intends to use in the coming year. The association advises barley growers to check with their local elevator, grain handler or processor to gauge local market demand before planting.

North Dakota led the nation for many years in barley production and still ranks, along with Montana and Idaho, among the top three.

Both two- and six-row barley can be used to make beer. Their respective names refer to the number of rows of kernels around the head of a barley stalk. Traditionally, North Dakota farmers have raised six-row barley, which is easier to grow in the state, but strong and rising demand from the barley industry for two-row barley has made it increasingly common in the state.

The American Malting Barley Association 2019 recommended list consists of 25 two- and eight six-row varieties. Changes from 2018 — all involving two-row varieties — are:

• The Harrington and Propino varieties are being dropped from the list.

• ABI Growler, Bill Coors 100, Moravian 165, and Thunder have been added.

According to the AMBA:

• ABI Growler is a mid-season spring barley developed by Busch Agricultural Resources in Ft. Collins, Colo.

• Bill Coors 100, released in 2016 in celebration of Bill Coors' 100th birthday, and Moravian 165 are spring varieties bred by Molson Coors in Burley, Idaho.

• Thunder is a winter variety released by Oregon State University.

The new varieties on the list are produced in other parts of the United States. And there already are two-row varieties on the list specific to North Dakota, so barley farmers in the state aren't affected by the 2019 changes, Edwardson said.

To see the full list of recommended varieties: " target="_blank">ambainc.org/media/AMBA_PDFs/Press_Releases/Press_Release_Recommend_Varieties_2019.pdf.