Winter Malting Barley is a new crop to Ohio. Malting barley requires careful management to maximize grain yield and to maintain high quality grain for malting purposes. In 2009, Dr. Eric Stockinger (Department of Horticulture and Crop Science), initiated a winter malting barley breeding program by testing different varieties obtained from outside sources for their sutiability in Ohio. As winter-hardiness is the most critical parameter for successful barley cultivation in the Midwest, emphasis on winter-hardiness and developing winter-hardy barley varieties is a key breeding program goal.
Ohio farmers need to carefully consider growing winter malting barley as it may not be suitable for all operations. Malt quality barley must meet several criteria to avoid being rejected by the malt facility- this risk may be too high for certain farmers since there are no markets in Ohio for rejected barley. Malting barley is not sold through traditional grain elevators like corn, soybean, and wheat, so contracts or agreements should be in place before planting. Each farmer must understand the unique challenges of growing malt quality barley before contracting and purchasing seed.