Compass and Spartacus have been approved as malting barley varieties by the barley industry’s peak organisation Barley Australia, expanding the choices available to growers.
The varieties were accredited as malting barley following evaluation trials conducted in association with the Malting and Brewing Industry Barley Technical Committee assessment.
Loxton graingrower Tom Fielke will sow 880 hectares of Compass barley this season and has gradually increased production from 470ha of the variety because of its suitability to the region and return.
“We can grow more barley than wheat even though the price is generally lower – but if you work on gross margins, a good barley crop with a premium attached is as good as a good wheat crop,” Mr Fielke said.
“Last harvest, half of the barley we produced made malt and we got an extra $5 a tonne,” he said.
“Glencore probably gave the premium on the proviso that it would become a malting variety and wanted to get ahead of the market.
“I would say a lot of growers could swing towards Compass instead of other varieties because the premium has made it worth it.”
Glencore Agriculture’s barley trader Jonathan Evans said the accreditation was positive news and would give growers an improved premium.
“The malting accreditation of Compass and Spartacus is great for growers who are currently seeing the benefit of these varieties’ yield performance and agronomic advantages,” he said.