Proximity Malt End of Season Mid-Atlantic Winter Barley Crop Report – July, 2023 - Proximity Malt

Proximity Malt End of Season Mid-Atlantic Winter Barley Crop Report – July, 2023

Proximity Malt, 07-26-2023

Avalon Malting Barley – Maryland, USA


By any measure, this year’s Mid-Atlantic winter barley crop was a success. Proximity Malt expanded its winter barley program, increasing acres, varieties, and grower-partners across the Delmarva peninsula (Delaware, Maryland, and VA) and into the Carolinas.

The region’s winter barley harvest is complete. Nearly ideal winter and early spring conditions teed up much of our barley for great quality results—especially with respect to our brand-new malting variety—Avalon, and third-year variety – Flavia. Timing is everything regarding grain, and our early June harvest window skirted the heavy rains that plagued the subsequent wheat crop in late June and early July.

Our varietal development work is central to our value proposition of providing a resilient, sustainable supply of malted barley for our customers. Our original mainstay variety, Violetta, is being mindfully replaced with new, higher yielding, better performing varieties such as Avalon and Flavia.

Avalon and Flavia are two relatively new winter malting barley varieties which Proximity Malt has supported—initially through research and development work, and now through contracts with our growers in the Delmarva.

And the 2023 crop results are very encouraging! We’re confident that our grower-partners will continue to increase acreage for both of these outstanding winter malting barley varieties.


Avalon is the first winter 2row malting barley released from the Virginia Tech breeding program developed specifically for the Delmarva region.  Proximity Malt producers were impressed with on farm performance this past year and are already requesting additional seed for the 2023/24 season.  Our Avalon growers delivered some of the best quality yet seen on malting barley in the region, with consistently high test weight (as high as 53 lb/bu), low protein levels (average of 11%) and yields up to 150 bushels per acre.

Agronomically, Avalon had excellent cool season growth and root structure development and an improved overall disease resistance package when compared to other varieties.  This is exciting for our customers because agronomic performance on farm correlates directly with malting and brewhouse performance, with extract being at the top of this list.

Flavia’s yields, test weight and plumps were also excellent. A combination of low average protein (10.3%), high plumps (96%) and high overall test weight (48.5lb/bu) will result in excellent malt quality again this season.   This was the 3rd year Flavia was available to Proximity Malt producers, and its first year as the acreage leader for our program.

Over the past 3 seasons, producers have been able to consistently achieve top end yield while maintaining the quality characteristics needed for premium malt with Flavia.

Violetta was a crucially important variety in the introduction of winter malting varieties to producers in previously under-utilized regions such as the Delmarva. In its early years, Proximity Malt relied heavily upon this European genome grain, originated from Germany, to tell the story of winter barley’s potential as a truly sustainable improvement to spring barleys.

However, this year’s harvest results confirmed what our barley R&D work has told us over the past 2 seasons – that there are new and better genetics available to help forward our goal of promoting sustainable farming and keeping malting barley relevant and desirable on Mid-Atlantic farms.  Raising yield levels on the same number of acres promotes a more sustainable system, in terms of the environment and the economics for all of our supply chain partners.

Varietal Pipeline:

As with maltsters worldwide and across time, when it comes to varieties, an eye must always be kept firmly on the future – and Proximity Malt has led the way in defining the future of winter malting barley. So as much as we’ve appreciated Violetta’s role, we’re planning to shift acres toward more Flavia and Avalon beginning this season, while continuing research on the next generation of new and ever-improving winter malting varieties. Why is it so important?

Growers want varieties that perform well. Both Avalon and Flavia performed well across the entire DelMarVa region, illustrating its potential across various terroirs. Producers particularly appreciate winter malting varieties, because they can rely on an early harvest, which allows for an earlier planting of a secondary crop like soybeans.

Finally, brewers want reliable quality grains at reasonable prices. As maltsters, we know that high extract, consistent color, clean flavor and plump grains matter. We strive to find varieties that are viable for growers, sought after by brewers, and perform well in the malthouse, too.


Proximity Malt