The malting barley acreage in the Free State had recently fallen sharply. But now there are more fields with barley again - and that has very topical reasons.
Munich/Wunsiedel (dpa/lby) - More malting barley is growing again in Bavaria. After years of declining acreage, it has increased this year. According to the Bavarian Farmers' Association (BBV), malting barley is grown on around 90,000 hectares. Last year it was just 81,600 hectares.
However, this year's acreage is still below that of 2019, when malting barley grew to more than 100,000 hectares. In the 1980s, Bavarian farmers were still growing spring barley on more than 300,000 hectares. The Free State is considered a beer country - the beer at the Oktoberfest is world-famous, in Upper Franconia there is a presumably unique concentration of breweries.
"Currently, the malting barley is doing well to very well outside," said BBV expert Anton Huber.
A main cultivation area for malting barley is Upper Franconia. Here, too, more malting barley is being grown than in the previous year, said Martin Schöffel, deputy chairman of the Upper Franconian malting barley association: "I attribute this to the increased market prices and the low fertilizer requirement."
Fertilizer prices have risen sharply in recent months because the natural gas required for production costs significantly more. Malting barley requires comparatively little mineral fertilizer and is therefore likely to have reawakened the interest of farmers.
How good the Upper Franconian malting barley harvest turns out this year will depend primarily on the weather in the coming weeks, as Schöffel further explained. A lot depends on whether the urgently needed rain will come in the coming weeks.
According to the information provided, the malting barley in Upper Franconia is marketed via agricultural trade - or contracts are concluded directly with the local malt houses. The main part of the Upper Franconian harvest ends up in the local malthouses.