16 August 2002

Winter barley unimpressive

UK winter barley quality is below the three-year average, initial results from asurvey co-ordinated by the HGCA show.

The crop has lower specific weight, higher nitrogen content, low-medium moisture levels and higher screenings, says HGCA economist Rupert Somerscales.

Based on 825 samples tested at laboratories across Britain, the data mainly reflects southern crops harvested before the rains hit. "It looks as though the 2002 winter barley crop may not match the three-year average."

Among the main varieties, Fanfare scores best for specific weight at 70.7kg/hl, while Pearl has lowest nitrogen content at 1.79% and screenings of 4.5%.

Further evidence of the quality slump comes from the fact that just 5.8% of samples seen so far would make the full cask conditioned ale market spec. Last year 16% of samples achieved that standard.

Updates will be posted at www.hgca.com &#42