Proximity Malt Mid-Year Malting Barley Market Report - Proximity Malt

Proximity Malt Mid-Year Malting Barley Market Report

Proximity Malt, 06-12-2024

We are in the middle of our winter barley harvest in the Mid-Atlantic.  The spring barley is in the early stages of the growing season.  We thought it would be a good time to share our Mid-Year Malting Barley Market Report.

Mid-Atlantic Region:

The Mid-Atlantic malting barley planting season began in October 2023 with adequate moisture, enabling a timely start. Farmers planted nearly 100% of contracted acres before November. The winter season was mild for the second year in a row, which did not challenge plant survival. A milder winter, similar to spring 2022, caused above-average aphid pressure and the presence of barley yellow dwarf virus (BYDV) carried by the insects.

The spring months saw exceptional precipitation levels compared to the regional average. Despite this, producers had chances to apply adequate nitrogen and fungicide to maintain yield potential and manage head scab pressure. Most fields appeared to be 1-2 weeks behind the normal first week of June harvest date. However, precipitation levels returned to normal during May, aiding grain fill and finishing. North Carolina fields started combining during the last week of May, and some Delmarva Peninsula producers began harvesting on June 1st.

Avalon, a variety from Virginia Tech, performed exceptionally well for the second year on significant acres. It showed strong genetic resistance to BYDV and Fusarium Head Blight (Head Scab) compared to other varieties. Early samples at our plant showed strong test weight and excellent overall quality.

Mountain West Region:

Snowpack in the Mountain West region remained 5-10% below average until March when a significant spring snowstorm brought the majority of mountain ranges feeding the San Luis Valley above 100% of the 5-year average.  Farmers planted the majority of acres in the first half of April, right before another timely late spring snow delivered between 4-6 inches.  This moisture helped barley get up and established.  Odyssey and Leandra spring barley are both planted again this season, and acres are in excellent condition heading into June.

On the western slope, Proximity has a plant scale evaluation of winter barley for the first time. The Violetta was planted in October of 2023 and had no problem overwintering in the Uncompahgre valley.  This season Proximity is looking at several other winter varieties in a trial format in collaboration with Colorado State University.

United States Overview:

2,566,000 acres of barley were planted in 2024, reported the USDA, down 300,00 acres from the 5-year average and half a million acres under 2023 when more than 3 million acres were planted.  The highest recorded acres planted in the US over the past 10 years was in 2015, when nearly 3.6 million acres of barley were planted.

US Crop Condition:

Historically, the US Drought Monitor, available from the University of Nebraska here provides an excellent preview of the barley growing season.  The end of May maps show intensity and impacts of heat and drought in the US.  The past four years provide a look at steady recovery from a disastrous season in 2021.

US Drought Monitor, 2021-2024


The American Malting Barley Association (AMBA) recently shared the USDA-Nass statistics for crop conditions in major growing areas for spring planted varieties.  As of the 28th of May, a large percentage of acres are in good to excellent condition.  While there is a significant part of the growing season left in 2024, adequate water resources have allowed for good crop establishment across much of the US acreage.

Check out the good work of the American Malting Barley Association here.


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