Barley is usually grown for either malting barley or stock feed markets, with different varieties better suited to each end use. However, it is quality standards that determine whether crops grown for the malting market is ultimately accepted, therefore the feed market provides a valuable market for any ‘below standard’ malting grain.
Australian growers produce around 2.3 million tonnes of malting barley each year and 6 million tonnes of feed barley. Domestic demand for malting barley is around one million tonnes per year and Australian domestic feed use is around two million tonnes each year, resulting in approximately 60% of the total crop being exported each year.
Generally, it is grown as a broadacre crop on large agricultural enterprises (several hundred or thousands of hectares) and commercial production may require a potentially large investment of capital in land, infrastructure and inputs if establishing a new enterprise. It is grown in rotation with winter and summer crops (cereals, oilseeds and grain legumes) depending on climate and availability of irrigation water. It may also be grown in rotation with pasture for grazing enterprises.
Facts and figures
- Barley is a widely grown cereal crop
- It is used mainly for the production of malt for the brewing industry and for stock feed
- It is the second largest grain crop (by volume) grown in Australia
- Australia produces around eight million tonnes per annum
- Australia makes up over 30% of the world’s malting barley trade and approximately 20% of the world’s feed barley trade
Barley is grown across most of Australia, except for the Northern Territory and the tropical zones of Australia. In Australia it is generally grown for either malting or feedstock with Australian growers producing around 2.3 million tonnes of malting barley and 6 million tonnes of feed barley each year.
Domestically, malting barley demand is around one million tonnes per year and Australian domestic feed use is around two million tonnes each year. The remaining Australian crop, equating to approximately 60% of total production, is exported to countries in Asia and the Middle East.