Barley prices depend heavily on the brewing industry

A majority of the barley here in the U.S. has been grown for malt. The National Barley Association says prices for that crop are largely dependent on the brewing industry.

“I think the trend is beer sales are dipping a little bit, you know, and but I think there’s still steady consumption of beer. I don’t think it’s a drastic change. So I know there are becoming better growers of barley, so our yields have kind of stabilized and quality stabilized. So they need a quality consistent product. So that’s the biggest thing is they don’t have as many acres growing, but I think our acceptance rates into their malting programs are a lot higher than they ever used to be,” said Chris Engelstad.

Some of that crop is also used for pet food, which is the biggest growing market for that commodity.

“That the same barley for the most part, we do the same. Not pretty much the same practices growing it, it just goes a little bit different avenue. They might grind it and go into your pellets like dog food does.”

Last year, Idaho was the leading state for barley production, putting out nearly 60 million bushels.