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Spring Malting Barley – August 2023

Harvest 2023 – Malting Barley Update

Moisture Meters

The dreadful weather conditions we are enduring are throwing up some issues with moistures on malting barley which could have some serious implications unless addressed.

It appears that many moisture meters are testing ABOVE the Infratec system even when meters have been tested and calibrated against new crop samples. This is an issue that we have all struggled with in the past and seems to occur when we encounter moistures at each end of the scale.

Please ensure you are checking your moisture meter against an Infratec machine to ensure you are getting your malting barley to a safe moisture level. We are happy to send out tested samples for you to check against, please speak to your usual RAL contact or to Jackie Fry in the lab at Waltham Chase, alternatively please bring samples into Waltham Chase office or to Fisherton Grain Store.


One of the great attributes of Laureate is that it is a more dormant variety than most others and will therefore be able to withstand quite a lot of moisture even when it is fit to harvest. Pre-germination is caused by a combination of high moisture and high temperature, luckily, we have lost the high temperatures and high humidity which should help the situation. Obviously, those crops that are fittest will be the ones most at risk, later crops are only just coming ripe. We have not seen any pre-germination (this morning included) and it is something we have coped well with in the past.

Drying down to 13% will be a great help in maintaining malting quality if we start to see pre-germination. Please ensure you follow all the manufacturers guidelines on drying temperatures but the golden rules are:

Max Air on temperature – 65c – 70c

Max grain temperature – 40c

From what we have seen so far there appears to be no skinning or splitting and yields on early sown crops look very respectable in the main, if you have any queries or want to bring samples in, please feel free to do so.

Storage & Sampling

With such a frustrating weather pattern and your ability to harvest large tonnages of grain in a short period of time, it is imperative that you take samples of grain as it comes into store and make a record of where it is stored, this will enable you (and us) to know exactly what you have got and where it is in your store. It will be really important this season to ensure that you are able to maximise the value of your grain given the low base price and high premiums on offer for malting barley and milling wheat.

We wish you the best of luck for what will be a trying few weeks, please feel free to use our lab facilities whenever you want.

Jonathan Arnold         August 2023