BC Leandra, LCS Genie, LCS Odyssey and LCS Violetta are all recommended by the American Malting Barley Association

Source: American Malting Barley Association press release

The American Malting Barley Association (AMBA) Board of Directors annually develops a list of recommended malting barley varieties for U.S. growers for the upcoming crop year.  AMBA is a nonprofit trade organization, which represents the interests of end users of malting barley, including maltsters, brewers, distillers, and food processors. Their work seeks to maintain a stable and high quality supply of malting barley for their nearly 60 members throughout the U.S.

The AMBA Recommended List is intended to provide U.S. growers with guidance as to what varieties the industry may be contracting or purchasing in the coming year. It is not intended as a list of approved or certified malting varieties for the use by brewers, distillers, food companies, or maltsters. There may be many suitable malting barley varieties grown domestically or internationally that are not on the list, yet have quality characteristics desired by the industry. Some varieties will be used in large quantities and many others are only utilized in niche markets, so producers are encouraged to contact their local elevator, grain handler, or processor to gauge market demand for any variety grown in their region prior to seeding.

Additions to the 2024 list include Avalon, BC Leandra, and ABI Raptor. Avalon is a noteworthy variety, which is a product of the public Virginia Tech barley breeding program, and was evaluated through the AMBA Quality Evaluation Program where it performed very well. Dr. Wynse Brooks, now retired barley breeder from Virginia Tech, was able to leave Avalon as a parting gift after his long career. Avalon was the first malt barley release to come from the program, and it has quickly found success in a broad geographic region that was seeking an improved winter line.

Avalon is a two-row winter malting variety bred and released by Virginia Tech. It was developed to grow specifically in the Mid-Atlantic region of the U.S. The new variety was very successful in the field and appreciated by farmers as it produced a healthy stand and exhibited superior agronomic qualities, including earlier maturity than comparable varieties. In the malthouse, it provides high extract with an even modification and low beta-glucan profile while providing an enzyme package meeting the expectations of all malt brewers.

BC Leandra is a two-row spring malting variety developed by Breun Seed GmbH & Co. It has excellent yield potential with shorter overall height and good straw strength while maintaining low protein. It is marketed by Breun as a Flexi-MaltTM variety, which suggests it can be successful in the field and malthouse with less water, a characteristic anecdotally experienced by early growers.

ABI Raptor is a high-performing two-row spring barley variety that offers a good balance of agronomic and malting benefits. In the field, it presents strong straw and matures earlier, correlating to less water needs. ABI Raptor has higher yield potential and low grain protein, however, lower test weight when compared to ABI Voyager.  It is susceptible to Spot Blotch and Fusarium Head Blight, but these diseases are less frequent in targeted production regions in Idaho and Montana. Producers should also be aware of ABI Raptor’s susceptibility to pre-harvest sprout.

Varieties removed from the 2024 list are Innovation, Moravian 37, and ABI Growler – three varieties that have experienced significant decline in acreage over the past several years and are no longer considered recommended varieties to growers.

With these changes from last year, the list of recommended malting barley varieties for 2024 is as follows (two-row unless otherwise noted by * for six-row varieties):

Spring Varieties

  • AAC Connect
  • AAC Synergy
  • ABI Cardinal
  • ABI Eagle
  • ABI Raptor
  • ABI Voyager
  • AC Metcalfe
  • BC Leandra
  • Bill Coors 100
  • CDC Copeland
  • CDC Fraser
  • Celebration*
  • Conrad
  • Expedition
  • Explorer
  • Hockett
  • Lacey*
  • Legacy*
  • LCS Genie
  • LCS Odyssey
  • Mayflower
  • Merit 57
  • Moravian 69
  • Moravian 164
  • Moravian 165
  • Moravian 170
  • Moravian 179
  • ND Genesis
  • Newdale
  • Quest*
  • Tradition*

Winter Varieties

  • Avalon
  • Endeavor
  • Flavia
  • KWS Donau
  • LCS Violetta
  • Puffin
  • Regina
  • Thoroughbred*
  • Thunder
  • Wintmalt