Each year, the GIWA Barley Council works with the barley supply chain in Western Australia to provide guidance to industry on the management of malt barley segregations in the bulk handling system.
Why Rationalise Malt Barley Varieties?
The WA barley industry supports the long-term aim of segregating up to two major malt varieties per port zone, with limited segregations on offer for minor, new or niche malt varieties. Segregating fewer malt varieties improves logistics (reducing storage and handling costs), makes segregation planning at a bin level easier and encourages more robust demand from the trade who are unwilling to risk buying small, unsaleable parcels. At the same time, it is vital to have a spread of varieties differing in their management and malt characteristics that allow the blending of processed malt to customer’s specifications and to spread agronomic risk. Treating malt barley crops with some chemicals may limit market access, as not all markets will have import tolerances equal to Australian tolerances. For example, opportunistic markets like Europe currently do not purchase barley with imazapyr residue nor barley with detectable levels of diquat herbicide. If they became regular and not opportunistic, such markets might require specific segregations.
To achieve this, the GIWA Barley Council undertakes an annual round of consultation with barley breeders, researchers, growers, maltsters, brewers, traders and bulk handlers to review demand, supply and logistical considerations for WA grown malt barley. Recommendations for changes to malt barley variety receivals two harvests ahead are then drafted and presented for discussion at GIWA’s annual Barley Forum held in late July each year. The Barley Forum, which is open to all in the barley industry, discusses and ratifies proposed changes. Following this, the malt barley variety receival recommendations for two harvests in the future (or approximately 18 months out) are published online to provide guidance to industry.