Malteurop Barley Breeding Program Brings New Flavor To Malting
This week we’re bringing you a segment on Malteurop’s accredited Barley Breeding Program. As the only independent malting company with a breeding program specifically designed to create unique malts for customers, we wanted to share more detail about the program, how it got started, and more.
In short summary, the goal of the program is “to contribute in building a farmer & customer oriented company by better understanding their needs and developing adapted barley.” However, there is quite a bit more to it than that. Malteurop professionals work with growers, farmers, and other agricultural professionals at 27 different sites around North America (and even more around the world) to create barley strains adapted to specific customer needs. That means that for any business looking to create specialty beverages with malt, it is possible to have that malt customized to your exact specifications for the perfect brew.
As the program has progressed and changed since 1981, Malteurop has seen some excellent ratings from the American Malting Barley Association, and has crafted an efficient and trustworthy method of breeding with high standards for quality. As a worldwide recognized breeder, Malteurop is able to test crop varieties throughout a global trial network, uniting specialists in all competencies from breeders and agronomists, to Maltsters and food technologists. Process steps include selection of parent plants, crossing, and monitoring and testing quality in the field before making decisions on varieties that are ready for customers.
Mark Black, Malteurop’s Barley Procurement Manager and the head of the Breeding Program for North America, spoke on the process, as well as on his role within the program, ways to get involved, and how the program has solidified relationships with North America’s farmers.
Q: How did you get involved with the program?
A: I became involved in 2005 as the North America trial coordinator due to having the industry contacts and relationships to partner and collaborate to build an independent trial program for our varieties within the barley growing regions.
Q: What is your specific role, and what are some of the broader goals of the program?
A: I work with our collaborators—Montana State University, North Dakota State University, Northern Seed for U.S. Trials and with Canterra Seed in Canada—to set up the 27 trials in North America of our varieties in several different regions and ensure everything is in place. I also visit each trial annually to score and verify the trial integrity. Upon harvest, I ensure we collect all the data from each trial and send that information on to Anna Marie Anderson, our breeder in New Zealand, who along with our Breeding Committee, will make recommendations to move varieties forward and for micro-malting.
Q: How can customers get involved with the Barley Breeding Program or contact Malteurop about it?
A: We will share our data and micro-malting results with our craft brewing customers to lend support in our selection process of varieties and to help identify varieties that will make us unique and build customer relationships and strengthen our position with the craft industry.
Q: Do you work with a lot of different farmers around the country, and would you say the program has strengthened your relationships with growers?
A: I do. Growers love to see new varieties and genetics, and the breeding program helps them to feel more involved. Growers feel they are supported in Malteurop’s direction to find better varieties for their farms to increase revenue and provide less input (e.g. water or nitrogen). I am able to work with growers throughout North America and not just in Montana—which has been a great experience.
Q: Do you think the program has been a differentiating factor for Malteurop? And what has been your feedback on it so far?
A: We are the only independent malting company with our own breeding program, which is unique and provides advantages to the brewing industry and to growers. Both growers to brewers feel there is a great value in the breeding program and they like the direct supply chain this allows them—from farm to bottle. It creates discussion between all aspects of the supply chain to balance better agronomics on the farm with superior brewing traits. We internalize our varieties directly to growers and our brewing customers allowing for them to recognize the benefits of the breeding program that others may not have to offer. The craft market as well as the farmers are appreciative of the program and are strong supporters of our goals.
If you have questions about Malteurop’s Barley Breeding Program, or would like to learn more please contact Mark.Black@malteurop.com or go to craftmastermalt.com/contact/