As craft beer struggles amid pandemic, so do barley farmers and malthouses

With much of the country under stay-at-home orders, the craft beer sector has seen a steep decline in sales. The consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic could be existential not only for this newly robust market and its thousands of employees but also for the malthouses and barley farmers whose ingredients are the building blocks of beer. (No paywall)

World grain supplies tighten, U.S. soy exports shrink

From the EU to the Urals, drought is hurting wheat and barley crops, said the International Grains Council, forecasting the smallest world grain crop in three years and the smallest “carry-over” supplies in four years.

Climate change hits malt barley, which means your beer

Summer storms and unpredictable “flash droughts” have proven a challenge to farmers who grow malt barley in Montana. As the climate has gradually warmed, a once-hospitable environment for the grain has become far more tenuous, says Ari LeVaux in FERN’s latest story, with The Weather Channel. (No paywall)

Aussies back low-gluten barley and livestock feed from seaweed

Australia is setting up a $200-million innovation fund — half public and half private money — to try to commercialize breakthrough research from universities, government agencies and other research bodies, reports the Sydney Morning Herald. Among the projects are Kebari, an ultra-low-gluten barley and FutureFeed, an additive for livestock rations made from seaweed that dramatically reduces methane emissions by cattle.

In world awash in grain, China’s stockpile heads for 17-year high

The global stockpile of grain will swell by 5 percent during 2016/17 because farmers are growing grain faster than the world can consume it, says the International Grains Council. "Grains inventories in the major exporters are predicted to grow to a seven-year high, while those in China could reach 200 million tons for the first time in 17 years," says the monthly IGC Grain Market Report.

Low prices pull down U.S. crop plantings

Farmers say they'll plant the third-largest amount of corn grown since World War II and the third-highest soybean area on record, superlatives that disguise some of the bad news in the annual Prospective Plantings report.

As growing season opens, winter wheat in strong condition

In its first Crop Progress report of the year, the USDA rated 59 percent of the winter wheat crop in good or excellent condition, 15 points higher than a year ago.

Add a barley gene and rice emits less methane

Rice is a staple of half the world's population and also a potent emitter of greenhouse gases. But the Los Angeles Times reports that scientists say genetic engineering may help solve the grain's methane problem.

Dry winter compounds chronic food shortages in North Korea

"Markedly lower" rainfall is raising concern about the winter wheat and barley crops in North Korea, says the Washington Post. The winter grains supply only 5 percent of North Korea's food but are a vital bridge, the so-called barley hump, during the spring...

Artisanal beer can be good for a barley farmer

U.S. beer consumption is headed in two different directions. So-called craft beer from brewpubs and micro-breweries is rising in popularity while people are drinking less of the light lager produced by the big beer companies.

Black barley joins the parade of new, niche crops

Camelina and quinoa, an alliterative pair, are among newcomer crops in North America, says Country Guide, based in Canada, before pointing to black barley, another new specialty crop.