Evaluation and development of systems for storing malting barley


Cereals & Oilseeds
Project code:
01 May 1987 - 30 April 1991
AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds.
AHDB sector cost:
£137,564 From HGCA (Project No. 0030/2/87)
Project leader:
E D Baxter, M O Proudlove and C J Dawe Brewing Research Foundation



About this project


1. Dormant barley samples showed poor germination performance and only slow recovery from dormancy when stored at low temperatures. Dried barleys (12% moisture) showed better rates of recovery from dormancy than undried samples (16% moisture) at all the storage temperatures investigated, but were still much slower to recover than were controls stored at 16°C.

2. Although water sensitivity was less affected by low temperature storage conditions than was Germinative Energy, virtually all the samples examined showed marked water sensitivity after 6 months storage at a range of temperatures between 2° and 10°C.

3. Barleys which had fully recovered from dormancy could be stored at low temperatures for as long as 5 months without any deleterious effects on germination.

4. Storage in atmospheres with relatively high nitrogen levels and low oxygen levels had no deleterious effects on germination or final malt quality. Grain stored in atmospheres with a high proportion of carbon dioxide recovered from dormancy somewhat slower than did grain stored in nitrogen or air, but final malt quality was unaffected.

5. Levels of N-dimethylamine (NDMA) in malt were unaffected by storing the barley in propane burner emission gases.

Low temperature storage is not likely to be suitable for UK barleys which show any signs of dormancy. It could, however, be useful for mature grain which has fully recovered from dormancy.

Malting barley can be stored in low oxygen atmospheres for the two months required to eliminate insect infestation without detrimental effects on germination performance or recovery from dormancy. Extension of the storage period under low oxygen to six months caused no deleterious effects.

Storage in low oxygen atmospheres can be used to reduce or eliminate the use of pesticides or fumigants in malting barley.