Watching the struggles of barley farmers to the east makes me appreciate the good weather we’re having at the Rogue Barley Farm in Tygh Valley, Oregon.
Rain and snow has delayed plantings all over the United States. 31 million acres behind normal. That’s equal to half the state of Oregon.
But the malting barley we grow to make Rogue Spirits is having a great spring.
Risk™ malting barley is two feet tall. Emerging from the boot leaves and starting to form the heads where kernels grow. Way ahead of last year.
The weather couldn’t be much better. It’s been in the 70s lately, nice and cool. Allows the seeds to grow slowly and fill in with lots of plumpness. Heat makes it grow too fast and get skinny.
The Dare™ spring malting barley is emerging from the ground. Planted it only six weeks ago. It grows faster than Risk™ barley. It should tiller, boot and head before the heat gets here.
What could be better? Rain. It’s been dry for several months.
We need water during this crucial growing stage. The starches inside a barley seed – the stuff we malt to make our spirits – starts as a milky liquid that hardens during the ripening season. Without water, it hardens too soon.
Irrigation began last week. Got our first delivery of water. That will do for now.
But rain is better.