The difference between feed and malt can be $1.50/bushel or more!
With the challenging 2019 harvest behind us (at least for most) an important consideration for farmers with malting barley this winter will be properly storing and monitoring the grain to ensure quality does not deteriorate. Even barley that did not appear chitted at harvest is showing signs of pre-harvest sprouting when tested, and in some cases this is resulting in a loss in germination. If your barley has excess moisture levels (i.e. above 13.5%) and/or has not had a chance to cool down since harvest, it is at risk of heating, loss of germination and other issues such as mold and mildew.
Generally speaking, the industry standard for germination in malting barley is minimum 95%, and good storage conditions can help maintain malting barley vigour. Heating, mold and mildew can also lead to barley being rejected for selection as malt.
What to do?
Check your bin tops for moisture migration. A small bit of tough barley can ultimately spoil the whole bin if not addressed.
If your moisture level is above 13.5%, you should try to get the moisture down.
Run your aeration fans on cold days to freeze your bins. Cool and dry grain has greatly improved shelf life.
If air/heat is not possible in the bin, you may need to remove all or part of the grain from your bin to dry it, or at least cool it down before putting it back in the bin.
You can submit a sample to your local malting barley buyer to check the germination level of your barley. Questions can also be directed to: