BACKGROUND: Crop management tools have been shown to affect barley kernel size and grain protein content, but the direct effect on malt quality is not well understood. The present study investigated the effect of seeding rate, nitrogen fertilisation and cultivar on malt quality.
RESULTS: Higher seeding rates produced barley with less grain protein and smaller, more uniformly sized kernels. The small, uniformly sized kernels modified more completely, leading to malt with higher extract and lower wort β-glucan than malt from low-seeding-rate barley. Increasing rates of nitrogen fertilisation caused grain protein levels to increase, which limited endosperm modification and reduced malt extract levels. AC Metcalfe showed better modification and higher malt extract than CDC Copeland, but CDC Copeland had better protein modification at higher fertilisation rates, which resulted in less reduction of malt extract as nitrogen rate increased.
CONCLUSION: Higher seeding rates reduced kernel size and grain protein levels without compromising malt extract owing to better endosperm modification of the more uniformly sized kernels. Negative effects of higher nitrogen rates on malt quality can be reduced through development of cultivars with improved ability to modify protein during malting. © 2012 Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada