This research project was composed of three 1-2 year field trials. These trials together collect basic information and examine select factors contributing to the yield and malt-quality of barley as well as the development of comprehensive soil fertility management plan for malt barley in Massachusetts. The research data that were obtained from this project form the basis for recommendations for burgeoning malt barley growers in Massachusetts.
Trial 1 focused on the impact of fall planting date and combinations of fall or spring nitrogen (N) applications and trial 2 focused the impact of different legume cover crop mixtures and seeding rates on malt barley growth parameters, yield, and malt quality. Trial 3 examined the yield and barley quality of 27 winter barley cultivars tested at the University of Massachusetts South Deerfield research farm. Through the course of this project there were continual efforts to enhance local networking, provide technical assistance to local growers and educational materials to potential growers and the public.
There has been a steadily increasing demand for craft beer in the United States in the past 2 decades, specifically the northeastern and western regions of the country. Currently, there is an insufficient body of research regarding varieties and fertility management plans that would permit growers in the Pioneer Valley to produce quality malting- barley. Barley must fit into a range of specific quality parameters, such as percent protein, uniform grain size, and the near absence of Deoxynivalenol (DON, the mycotoxin Deoxynivalenol aka ‘vomitoxin’, caused by Fusarium head blight), to be suitable for malting. Malt barley has a price premium over feed barley. This price premium may incentivize production for growers in the region. Consumer demand for locally sourced ingredients, in addition to locally produced beer may provide further economic incentives for regional malt barley production. This research aimed to increase the understanding of viable methods for producing malt quality barley in the region in order to provide economic benefit to local breweries, malt houses, and farmers.
Growers interested in growing malt barley as a new crop in the Northeastern region of the United States are concerned that their barley may exceed the accepted malt quality protein maximum of 13-13.5%. Date of planting and N applications have been shown to have significant effects on protein content and yield in previous research on spring barley. Winter survival is also of significant concern to those growers seeking to plant in the fall. While increasing N applications would boost yields without quality concerns in most crops, growers in the region have expressed concerns regarding N management and protein levels in malt barley. Another significant concern is the presence of DON. The impact of fall and spring N applications and any interaction with date of planting have not yet been established in this region.
While growers in the Northeast can chose between winter or spring barley varieties, either choice brings challenges not encountered in the major barley growing regions of the United States. Spring barley varieties do not bring the associated risk of crop loss to winter kill that winter varieties do, but they are less competitive against weed pressure. Many chemicals commonly utilized to control weed pressure in major production regions are not registered for application on malt barley in Massachusetts. Winter barley varieties have a significant advantage in weed competition and can typically be grown with no herbicide applications. This has clear economic and environmental advantages for all growers. It is especially beneficially for organic or ‘no-spray’ growers seeking to meet the demands of a burgeoning locavore movement in the regional farm to brewery consumer environment.
Objective 1. Trial 1. Date of Planting and Nitrogen management for Malt Barley production in the Northeast
While the advantages of growing winter barley over spring cultivars are several, New England winters pose risks to its production. Cold snaps, combined with freeze-thaw events can decimate a winter barley crop. Preliminary trials conducted during over the ‘Polar Vortex’ winter of 2013-2014 found 0% winter survival in Wintmalt planted on September 1, 20% survival when planted September 15 and 50% survival in barley planted on October 1. Many factors play a role in winter survival including cultivar, as examined in the ‘Winter Barley Cultivar Trial Report: 2015-2016’, but also planting date and soil fertility level. In this trial Wintmalt was selected due to its moderate winter hardiness. This trial aimed to elucidate the impact of fall planting date and combinations of fall or spring N applications on malt barley yield and quality in the Northeast.
Objective 2. Trial 2. Green Manures and Seeding Rate in Malt Barley production in the Northeast
In malt barley production, N applications must be managed to limit protein levels in the grain. Legume cover crops/green manures may provide sufficient bioavailable (N) to barley while enhancing soil health. Crimson Clover (Trifolium incarnatum) and Sunn Hemp (Crotalaria juncea) are new legume cover crops to the New England region. In this trial, legumes were utilized as a green manure, planted in the late summer and then incorporated into soil two weeks prior to planting winter barley. In this system, barley also serves as a winter cover crop role, holding soil in place throughout the winter and early spring, decreasing the risk of run off and nutrient leaching during periods where spring barley would not yet have established root systems. We hypothesized that integrating these legume cover crops may meet a portion of the N requirements of malting barley, while the high lignin content of the Sunn Hemp will increase the soil organic carbon to contribute to overall soil health. This trial will evaluate the impact of seeding rate and potential role of green manures in regional malt barley production systems.
Objective 3. Trial 3. Winter Barley Cultivar Trial Report: 2015-2016
There are a variety of winter cultivars currently available to growers. However, the malt barley trials used to determine the performance of cultivar under development have not previously been conducted in the Northeast. Regionally specific performance is vital information for growers considering malt barley production on their farms. These trials can also influence the development of new cultivars. The University of Massachusetts Amherst tested 27 cultivars over the 2015-2016 season at the University Research Farm in S. Deerfield. Phenotypic parameters, grain yield, and malting quality indices are reported to aid regional growers in selecting the cultivar most suited to their farm’s environment and needs.
Objective 4. Dissemination of findings and grower support
As a SARE project conducted at Massachusetts’ land grant university, the ultimate goal of these studies was dissemination of findings to the agricultural community. This was accomplished through UMass field days, extension publications, research presentations at regional meetings, and collaborations with regional barley producers and maltsers.
Materials and Methods:
Experimental Site: All trials were conducted at the University of Massachusetts Agricultural Experiment Station Farm in South Deerfield, MA (42° N, 73° W). Soil at this site in the Connecticut River Valley, is characterized as fine Hadley loam. The 2014-2015 winter was characterized by significant snow cover, whereas the 2015-2016 winter was warmer than the norm for the location and had several freeze-thaw events (Table1). In all trials a pre-planting baseline soil sample of the top 6” inches of soil was collected by sampling a 5×4 grid of 20 sub-samples across the block. The block was then amended appropriately as recommended by the UMass soil testing lab for barley production, with the exception of N in trials where N was a treatment.Table 1. Weather Data for the Malt Barley Research Trials at the University of Massachusetts Agricultural Research Farm, South Deerfield, MA
Statistical Analysis: Data were analyzed using PROC GLM in SAS version 9.4, and the significance of any incremental relationships was determined using ANOVA followed by orthogonal polynomial comparisons when significant. The significance of and discrete relationships was determined through ANOVA followed by Tukey’s HSD at P≤ 0.05.
Field Measurements: Winter survival was determined by a visual assessment of the surviving area of the plot. Each plot was ranked from 0-10 to reflect the percentage of the plot. Foliar disease was estimated as a percentage of leaf surface area infected using the disease specific percentage guides in the American Phytopathological Society’s ‘A manual of assessment keys for plant disease’ (Clive, J., 1971). Heading date, reported in Julian days, was declared when 50% of tillers had emerged heads. Height was measured to the top of the head in three subsamples per plot and the means reported and analyzed. Lodging/stem breakage was given a visual ranking on a 0-10 scale
Harvest: Barley was harvested using a 1995 ALMACO SPC20 plot combine. Grain was stored in a 100° F forced air oven until processed to preserve kernel integrity. Germination and test weight were determined utilizing standard procedures.
Trial 1 Specific Methods:
In the 2014-2015 growing season the barley was planted into a block which had previously grown spring buckwheat. In the 2015-2016 growing season the barley was planted into a block which had previously grown fava beans.
Experimental design: Treatments consisted of three dates of planting (Sept 5, 15 and 15), either 0 or 25 lbs N/ac at fall planting, and 25, 45 or 65 lbs N/ac in the following spring at GS 30 stage. These were combined for a total of 18 treatments in the 2014-2015. In the 2015-2016 an additional treatment of zero N was included. All combinations of treatments were replicated 4 times in a randomized complete block design.
Field Methods: In both years the experimental sites were disked within the week prior to planting. Winter malt barley cultivar Wintmalt was planted at 110 lbs seed per ac, at ¾ inch depth using a cone drill planter. Fall N treatments were applied at 25 lbs/ac, in the form of calcium ammonium nitrate (CAN) which was watered into the soil at time of sowing. Spring N treatments were applied in the same manner in 2015 and later in 2016 when the mean growth stage of plants across the trial was approximately at GS 30.
Field Measurements and Harvest: Winter survival was determined on April 29, 2015 and on April 11, 2016. Foliar disease was determined on June 17, 2015. Due to rapid drought induced foliar desiccation, foliar disease load was not a significant factor in 2016. Barley was harvested on Aug 11, 2015, and July 20, 2016. Sub-samples from each plot were analyzed for malt quality at the University of Vermont’s cereal grain testing lab. All yield values were reported at 13.5% moisture, and all protein reported at 12% moisture.
Trial 2 Specific Methods:
In the summer of 2015 the cover crops were planted into a block which had previously grown silage corn in the 2014 season and then had been left fallow until this trial.
Experimental design: Treatments consisted of 4 cover crop species including; Sunn Hemp at 30 lbs/ac, (SH) Sunn Hemp at 15 lbs/ac in combination with Crimson Clover at 15 lbs/ac (SH+CC), Crimson Clover at 18 lbs/ac (CC) and no cover crop (None), two cultivars, Wintmalt (WM) and Charles (CH), and 3 barley seeding rates (300, 350 and 400 seeds per m2 [WM: 118, 138, and 158 lbs/ac and CH: 107, 125, and 143 lbs/ac]). These 3 factorswere combined for a total of 24 treatments. All treatments were replicated 4 times in a randomized complete block design.
Field Methods: Cover crop treatments were planted on July 25, 2015. All cover crops were flail mowed, chopped and rototilled into the soil on September 15, 2015. The winter barley cultivars were planted at ¾ inch depth using a cone drill planter on September 25, 2015. Spring N was applied at 25 lbs/ac on April 15, 2016, at approximately GS 30 following the collection of pre-fertilization soil samples.
Field Measurements: Cover crop biomass samples were collected as two 1-ft linear subsamples per plot on September 8, 2015 and dried at 150 °F in a forced air oven. Fall soil samples were collected immediately following the first hard frost on October 20, 2015. Winter survival was determined on April 11, 2016. A pre-fertilization soil sample was collected on April 14, 2015. Heading date, reported in Julian days, was declared when 50% of tillers had emerged heads. Height was measured on June 24, 2016. Lodging/stem breakage was determined on July 12, 2016.
Harvest: Barley was harvested on July 19, 2016. Samples from the Wintmalt plots only were sent to the University of Vermont’s cereal grain testing lab for further malt quality analysis, due to the consistent low quality of Charles plots at harvest. All yield values were reported at 13.5% moisture, and all protein reported at 12% moisture.
Trial 3 Specific Methods:
On September 25, 2015, all cultivars were planted into an experimental block, which had been left fallow over the preceding season, following a 2014 winter rye planting. All plots were 15×5 feet, seeded at 110 lbs/ac.
Experimental design: Treatments consisted of 27 winter cultivars (Table 2) supplied to the University of Massachusetts through its participation in the national Winter Malting Barley Trial, organized by the University of Minnesota. All cultivars were replicated 3 times in a randomized complete block design. The entire block of experimental plots was surrounded by a buffer of Wintmalt to prevent edge effects.Table 2. Winter Malting Barley trial entry list tested at the University of Massachusetts. Agricultural Research Farm, South Deerfield, MA, 2015-2016
Field Measurements: Winter survival was determined on March 14, 2016. Foliar disease was determined on June 16, 2016. Height was measured on June 23, 2016. Lodging/stem breakage was determined on July 12, 2016.
Harvest: Barley was harvested on July 21, 2016. All yields were standardized to 13.5% moisture. Sub-samples from each plot were shipped to the University of North Dakota cereal grains testing facility for malt quality analysis.
Quality Analysis: Percent protein (reported on a dry-matter basis) was determined by near infrared transmittance on a Foss Infratec 1241 grain analyzer. Barley plumpness (100 g) kernel assortment was determined using a Pfeuffer Sortimat. Percent plump is the percentage of all kernels retained above the 6/64 x 3/4-inch screen, and the highest percentages are most desirable. Percent thin is the percentage of kernels passing through the 5/64 x 3/4-inch screen. (DON) was expressed in ppm, and was determined by gas chromatography. Germinative Energy is the percentage of kernels germinated following 72 hours. Falling number was determined via a Perten TecMaster RVA unit.
Trial 1 Results:
Neither DOP nor fall N treatments had any significant impact on winter survival and heading date in 2014-2015. However, there was a significant interaction between DOP and fall N on heading date. In plots that received fall N, earlier plantings had later heading dates. While statistically significant, all treatments were heading within 24-36 hrs of one another. The importance of this relationship is minimal, as is its strength.
Foliar disease: Foliar disease, primarily powdery mildew (Erysiphe graminis f. sp. hordei), had a highly significant response to date of plating in 2014-2015. Earlier dates of planting, which had stronger and denser stand establishment in the spring, also had higher rates of foliar disease. This was not a surprise since with increased stand density, air flow is reduced, and the duration of wetting periods increased. E. graminis, among the earliest recognized cereal pathogens, can cause significant damage to cereal crops, primarily through reduction in photosynthesis. Reduction in photosynthetic capacity via any mechanism can reduce tillering, heading and root development decreasing yield, kernel weight and protein. Agronomic costs due to E. graminis are greatest in early infections. These consequences of infection were not directly observed in this trial, possibly due to a relatively late infection development. This increase in foliar disease did not appear to have a significant impact on grain yields or quality. While higher rates of spring N and earlier dates of planting had numerically higher yields than lower rates of spring N and later dates of planting, none of the treatments had a significant impact on yield (Table 3).Table 3. Yield and Growth metrics for the Date of Planting and Nitrogen Trial for the University of Massachusetts Agricultural Research Farm, South Deerfield, MA. 2014-2015
Quality Indices: All levels of grain protein were within the acceptable malting range (below 13-13.5%). Indeed, spring N levels could be increased significantly to increase yields without risking excessive protein in the grain for malting. Levels of grain protein increased significantly as spring N levels increased by 8.3, 8.6, and 9.1%, respectively. Additionally, there was a significant, though weak, relationship between DOP and grain protein. However, this relationship was polynomial and likely an artifact of the data. Falling numbers throughout this trial were well lower than would be acceptable for malt barley. This is assumed to be due to pre-harvest germination due to a delay in harvest. There was a significant polynomial relationship between falling number and DOP. There was also a significant interaction between fall N and DOP in falling number. This polynomial relationship exists only when no N was applied in the fall and is believed to be an artifact of the data. DON increased by a small but statistically significant amount with later planting dates in 2014-2015, with the latest DOP having an average DON level above the ideal >0.5 ppm. Unlike heading date, there was no significant interaction effect of any treatments in determining DON levels (Table 4). Table 4. Yield and Growth metrics for the Date of Planting and Nitrogen Trial for the University of Massachusetts Agricultural Research Farm, South Deerfield, MA. 2014-2015 Agronomic NUE, (g grain yield/g N applied), was significantly lower in plots that received fall N in comparison to plots that did not. NUE also decreased significantly with increasing spring N applications (Figure 1).Figure 1. Agronomic NUE by spring and Fall N applications, S. Deerfield, 2014-2015
Earlier dates of planting had significantly lower rates of winter survival. Numerically lower yields were associated with lower winter survival in the second year of the trial. There were no meaningful impacts of any of the treatments on either height or heading date. Lodging/stem breakage was significantly impacted by spring N applications, with treatments receiving no spring N having less lodging/stem breakage due to reduced growth and stem elongation (Table 5). Table 5. Yield and Growth metrics for the Date of Planting and Nitrogen Trial for the University of Massachusetts Agricultural Research Farm, South Deerfield, MA. 2015-2016 Yield was significantly impacted by applications of spring N, increasing with increased applications. Agronomic Nitrogen Use efficiency decreased significantly with increasing spring N applications. Thousand grain weight and test weight were not significantly impacted by any of the main factors tested in this trial. Falling number was higher in the later planting dates. While DON did increase with the later planting dates, all dates were below 0.5ppm (Table 6).Table 6. Yield and Growth metrics for the Date of Planting and Nitrogen Trial for the University of Massachusetts Agricultural Research Farm, South Deerfield, MA. 2015-2016
Trial 2 Results:
SH and SH+CC produced significantly higher biomass than CC alone, and contributed significantly higher amounts of all measured nutrients than CC alone. SH alone contributed 77 lbs N/ac, followed by SH+CC (53lbs/ac), while CC contributed only 13 lbs N/ac (Table 7).Table 7. Cover crops aerial biomass and their potential nutrients reovery1. University of Massachusetts, Agricultural Research Farm, South Deerfield, MA, 2015
Plots planted with SH alone had significantly higher soil nitrate at frost than plots planted with CC alone, or no cover crop. Plots planted with SH+CC did not have significantly different soil nitrate than any other treatments (Figure 2). Figure 2. Soil Nitrate level at first frost, S. Deerfield, MA, 2015-2016 Cultivar type and seeding rate had no significant impact on soil nitrate at frost. None of the main treatments or their interactions had any significant impact on soil nitrate at the spring, pre-fertilization sample date (Table 8).Table 8. Influence of cover crop species, barley cultivar, and barley seeding rate on soil nitrate level at frost and pre-fertilization time at the Agricultural Research Farm, South Deerfield, MA, 2015-2016
Charles headed out significantly earlier than Wintmalt. However, constrictions of harvesting equipment required simultaneous harvest. Charles therefore had a lower test weight, yield, and total germination due to delayed harvest, in addition to a higher rate of lodging/stem breakage than Wintmalt. Charles would be expected to have lower lodging/stem breakage if grown and harvested in a single cultivar stand that permitted timely harvest. Malt quality analysis of protein, falling number, and DON levels were therefore only conducted for the Wintmalt plots. There were no significant impacts of cover crop or seeding rate on the tested quality indices (Table 9).Table 9. Influence of cover crop species, barley cultivar, and barley seeding rate on barley grain yield and its growth metrics at the Agricultural Research Farm, South Deerfield, MA. 2015-2016
Table 9 cont.
Trial 3 Results:
Winter survival: Winter survival was acceptable for, and not significantly different among, all except DH130004 and DH130718. These two suffered significant losses with DH130718 having significantly lower winter survival than did DH130004.
Heading date: Thoroughbred, MW11S4024-004, 10.0777, MW12_4007-008, and MW11S4029-002, were not significantly different from one another and had the earliest heading dates (133.3, 133.7, 135.3, 135.7, and 136.0 Julian days, respectively), whereas 05ARS561, Puffin, DH130718, Wintmalt, and 6W13-7041 were not significantly different from one another and had the latest heading dates (141.7, 142.0, 142,7, 143.3, and 144.3 Julian days, respectively).
Foliar disease: Foliar disease was variable throughout the trial with Calypso showing the least (0.8). Only Wintmalt, MW12_4042-002, 6W11-0064, DH130718, Thoroughbred, 6W13-7041, MW11S4024-004, DH130004, and MW11S4029-002 had significantly higher rates of foliar disease than Calypso (4.3, 4.3, 4.3, 4.5, 5.0, 5.0, 5.5, 5.8, and 6.8, respectively).
Mean height: Mean height was also variable, with Charles being the shortest (23.25 in) and only Calypso, Hirondella, 6W11-0003, McGregor, 6W13-7041, MW11S4029-002, MW11S4024-004, MW12_4007-008, MW12_4042-002, and, 6W11-0064 being significantly taller than Charles (34.8, 35.7, 36.6, 36.7, 36.9, 37.0, 38.9, 39.0, 39.1, and 40.0 in, respectively).
Lodging/Stem breakage: DH130718 had the lowest level of Lodging/Stem breakage (1.0) and was not significantly different from any treatment except Vincenta, which had the highest level of Lodging/Stem breakage (6.8) (Table 10).Table 10. Phenotypic parameters for the Winter Cultivar trial for the University of Massachusetts. Agricultural Research Farm, South Deerfield, MA, 2015-2016
Yield: Calypso had the highest yield (136.5 bu/ac) and only 04ARS640, 05ARS561, MW11S4029-002, Endeavor, 06ARS633, 10.086, Charles, DH130004, and DH130718 were significantly lower yielding than Calypso (85.2, 77.9, 77.4, 75.8, 74.7, 72.4, 64.9, 53.9, and 17.4 bu/ac, respectively).
Test weight: 02Ab669 had the highest test weight, (48.3 lb/bu), but was not significantly higher than Calypso, DH130718, Strider, 10.086, 10.0777, MW11S4024-004, 04ARS640, or MW12_4007-008, (47.9, 47.2, 46.9, 46.1, 45.6, 45.3, 45.2, or 44.8 lb/bu, respectively). McGregor had the lowest test weight (38.8 lb/bu), but was not significantly different from Charles, DH130004, SU-Mateo, 06ARS633, or Thoroughbred (38.9, 39.0, 41.1, 41.6, or 42.1 lb/bu respectively).
Plumpness: Calypso had the highest percentage of plump kernels (97.4%), however only SU-Mateo, Puffin, 06ARS633, MW11S4024-004, and Thoroughbred had significantly lower percentage of plump kernels (73.1, 69.0, 66.7, 59.5, and 54.6 %, respectively).
Thinness: Thoroughbred had the highest percentage of thin kernels (6.7%), followed by 06ARS633 (5.9%). These were the only cultivars that had significantly higher rates of thin kernels than DH130718, which had the lowest rate (0.3%) (Table 11).Table 11. Yield and malting quality parameters for the Winter Cultivar trial for the University of Massachusetts. Agricultural Research Farm, South Deerfield, MA, 2015-2016
Germinative energy: The majority of cultivars had germination rates above 95%. The only cultivars with significantly lower germinations rates than DH130718 (100%) were McGregor (74.0%), followed by MW11S4029-002, 6W11-0003, Charles, 6W13-7041, DH130004, 10.0777, 6W11-0064, MW12_4042-002 (73.7, 66.0, 60.3, 53.3, 39.7, 38.7, 34.3, and 30.7, respectively).
Protein: 02Ab669 had the lowest protein concentration, at 10.6%, no treatment was significantly different from 02Ab669 except 6W11-0003, at 14.9%. However, the mean protein levels of Wintmalt, McGregor, Strider, 10/069/1, and Puffin were all above the acceptable limit of 13.5% (13.6, 13.7, 13.8, 14.5, and 14.8%, respectively).
DON: All cultivars had DON levels below 0.1 ppm, and there were no significant differences among any of the cultivars in DON levels.
Falling number: Calypso had the highest falling number (350 sec), but was not significantly different from Puffin, Thoroughbred, SU-Mateo, 10/069/1, Hirondella, MW11S4024-004, McGregor, Strider, MW11S4029-002 or MW12_4042-002 (321.3, 311.3, 310.7, 297.7, 272.3, 237.7, 235.7, 200.0, 199.7, and 176.3, respectively). Charles, Endeavor, 05ARS561, 06ARS633, 04ARS640, 10.0777, 10.086, DH130004, DH130718 all had the lowest falling number at 60 sec, and were only significantly different from Calypso, Puffin, Thoroughbred, SU-Mateo, 10/069/1 and Hirondella (Table 12).Table 12. Yield and malting quality parameters for the Winter Cultivar Trial for the University of Massachusetts Agricultural Research Farm, South Deerfield, MA, 2015-2016
Trial 1 Outcome:
In the first year of the trial, earlier planting dates had numerically higher yields than later planting dates. However, the earlier planting dates suffered higher foliar diseases, primarily powdery mildew. DON was lower in earlier planting dates than later. However, protein levels of all barley grain in all treatments were much lower than 13%, and were on the low side of acceptable range. Fall N applications had no significant impact on any of the quantified metrics. Larger applications of N in the spring resulted in numerically increased yields, however higher foliar disease was associated with the highest rate of application. Although protein levels increased with increased spring N application rates, all harvested grains were in the acceptable range for malting purpose, and increased spring N applications would benefit the grower by increasing yields.
Nitrogen applied in the fall represents a fertilizer expenditure for growers and the potential N loss to the environment with no measureable benefit at harvest. The decreasing NUE in relationship to increasing spring N applications is to be expected, however, is counterbalanced by numerically increasing total yields. Appropriate application of spring N to winter barley should be informed by this relationship, as well as by the cost of N fertilizer, expected market price of malt barley and input costs specific to the grower. While foliar disease at plant maturity has limited impact on yield, the presence of DON due to Fusarium infestation can render the crop unsuitable for malting, significantly reducing or eliminating the market value of the crop. In both years of this trial, all DOP were within the marketable range of DON levels.
Trial 2 Outcome:
Fall soil nitrate varied significantly by cover crop treatment, but this variation did not carry through to pre-fertilization soil nitrate levels, nor did it have a significant impact on any of the barley metrics. While cover crop treatments did not have a significant impact on growth parameters or yield in the first year of this trial, a second year of the trial is currently ongoing, in addition to replication at the University of Vermont. Additional data from these trials may lead to more concrete conclusions regarding the potential role of these cover crops as green manures and seeding rates in malt barley production in the Northeastern United States.
Trial 3 Outcome:
In general, the 2015-2016 growing season was dryer and warmer compared to the norm in the trial location. Between planting and harvest, rainfall was 6.3” below the area norm of 38.2”. During the primary growth period, from March to July 2016, rainfall was 7.2” below the area norm of 18.2”. The 2015-2016 growing season was also warmer than the norm for the location where crop collected 570 more GDD.
High yielding and poor yielding cultivars could be found among both 6-row and 2-row cultivars. However, on average, the 6-row cultivars out-yielded the 2-row cultivars partly due to better winter survival rate. When the two cultivars with the lowest survival rate (DH130004 and DH130718) are disregarded, the difference in mean yields between 2 and 6-row cultivars is halved. Overall, 2-row cultivars performed better in almost all quality indices and had higher test weight, higher percent plump, lower percent thin, higher germination energy, and lower protein content.
When both grain yield and quality were considered, Hirondella performed best among the 6-row cultivars and Calypso, Wintmalt and Vincenta were preferred cultivars among the 2-rows cultivars. In this trial, Calypso had the lowest rate of foliar disease, highest yield, and highest percentage of plump kernels and falling number, as well as one of the highest test weights in this trial. However, many cultivars were not significantly different from the best performer in any given category, and amongst these cultivars, growers should select based on their needs, seed availability, and row-type preference. These conclusions are based on results from only one year and a more definitive conclusion requires multiple trials.
Education & Outreach Activities and Participation Summary
The outreach activity of the project included technical assistance to the growers interested in malting industry, educational workshop, field days, and generating educational materials.
Technical advisor to Matt Zarif on his SARE farmer grant, FNE15-835, with Carter and Stevens Farm in the development of a malt barley production system during the establishment of Stone Cow Brewery (2015-Present)
Discussion panel participant in for Northeast Organic Farming Association workshop ‘Cocktail Cover Crops: Trials and techniques’ (July 25, 2016)
Lead Presenter of Barley research initiatives at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, to malt barley researchers from North Dakota State University and Hardwick College, a representative from the craft maltsers guild, and regional barley growers and malsters (June 14, 2016)
Malt barley research presenter (Impact of Planting Date, Nitrogen Regime, Cultivar and Zinc on Malt Barley Quality) at the UMass Agricultural Field Day (June 24, 2015)
Publications and Reports:
Wise, C. R., Masoud Hashemi, Talia Aronson. Winter Barley Cultivar Trial Report: 2015-2016. University of Massachusetts Amherst Extension Agronomy Research Report, 2017
Wise, C. R., Masoud Hashemi, Talia Aronson. Date of Planting and Nitrogen management for Malt Barley production in the Northeast. University of Massachusetts Amherst Agronomy Research Report, 2017
Wise, C. R., Masoud Hashemi, Christopher Von Achen, Green Manures and Seeding Rate in Malt Barley Production in the Northeast. University of Massachusetts Amherst Agronomy Research Report, 2017
Wise, C. R., Masoud Hashemi, Daniel Cooley, and Elsa Petit. Head Blight in Brewing Barley and Other Small Grains. University of Massachusetts Amherst Extension Fact Sheet, 2016
Wise, C. R., and Masoud Hashemi. Ongoing Malt Barley Research Projects at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. CDLE Newsletter (summer 2016) 18(4): 18-19
Wise, C. R., Management practices for production of local malting barley in Northeast. Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE), 2015 Annual report
Wise, C. R. and Masoud Hashemi. 2015. Impacts of Planting Date, Nitrogen, Cultivar and Zinc on Barley Malt Quality. UMass Agricultural Field Day, Research Report. Pg 24,
ASA, CSSA and SSSA International Annual Meeting, Phoenix, AZ (November 8, 2016)
“Grain yield and malting indices of brewing barley as affected by time of planting and nitrogen management in the Northeastern USA”
Plant Biology Symposium, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA (October 3, 2016)
“Managing Planting Date and Nitrogen Application for Local Malting Barley Production”
Plant Biology Symposium, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA (October 11, 2015)
“Best Management Practices for Malt Barley in the Northeast”
During this project, I worked in collaboration with Matt Zarif of Carter and Stevens Farm to initiate malt barley production during the 2016 season. While they were able to successfully harvest and malt several acres of barley for their brewery, weed management was a challenge. They choose to plant a spring barley variety. In the future, they are planning on using winter barley to mitigate weed growth. UMass Amherst has also had an ongoing collaboration with the only malt house in Massachusetts, Valley Malt. Andrea and Christian Stanley of Valley Malt have generously contributed time and knowledge to trials, field days and presentations to the public. Additionally, they annually open their malt house to aid in our education of university students on malt barley production and processing. One student, Luke Lupine, engaged through one of these field trips, became sufficiently interested in the farm to brewery movement to pursue a career in local hops production at Goats Peak Farm in Easthampton, MA.
Areas needing additional study
Further trials to better elucidate the potential role of green manures and seeding rate in malt barley production in this region are ongoing. Additional years of cultivar trials will be needed to make concrete recommendations for farm specific needs and environments in western Massachusetts. Additional avenues of research into the most profitable role of malt barley production in the agricultural economy of the region are recommended.