Malting barley: The facts, figures and definitions
GroundCover™ Issue: 12
Production - depending on seasonal conditions, Australian farmers produce 3-7 million tonnes of barley a year. The most recent high was in 1993-94 when nearly seven million tonnes were produced. Up to 50% is feed quality, the rest is malting barley.
$$$ - the industry generates roughly $550 million in most years through sales of both malt and malting barley. Recent declines in Australian sales receipts in premium malt export markets are estimated to cost the country an additional $30 million annually.
The states - SA is the dominant barley producing state, followed by Victoria, WA, NSW, Queensland and Tasmania.
Trade - Australia commands 45 per cent and the largest share of the world trade for malting barley. Australia also has approximately 9 per cent of the world market for export malt.
Australia's largest customer for malting barley, China, is now the second-largest beer producer in the world. Other Australian malting barley customers are Korea and Colombia.
Diastatic power - a key to good malting quality is the diastatic power in the grain. This refers to the enzyme level required to convert barley starch to simple sugars suitable for the yeast to ferment in the brewing process. High diastatic power is required by some overseas markets.
Extract - refers to the amount of malt that can be extracted from a given quantity of barley.
β-glucan - is cell wall material. High amounts are detrimental to the brewing process because they cause filtration problems.