Briess barley grower Dennis Davidson from Burlington, WY, watches as barley seed is loaded into his truck at the Briess Seed Plant in Powell, WY.

After a cold, snowy winter, I’m happy to report that Briess barley growers in Northwestern Wyoming and Southern Montana are busy planting the 2019 barley crop.

This year’s planting season is a little later than normal due to a delayed spring warm up. Wyoming won’t be too behind schedule, as our prime seeding window is the middle two weeks in April. Southern Montana, however, will be a bit late as they had a lot more snow than the Wyoming Big Horn Basin. It is not critical yet, as Mother Nature can change things in a hurry. Over the next six weeks, we should see a lot of barley acres planted.

Where do Briess barley growers get their barley seed? The Briess Seed Plant in Powell, WY.

Briess barley grower Max Baker from the Powell, WY, area discusses barley seed with Cameron Barker (Briess WY Barley Operations Production Manager).

In order to preserve the varietal purity of barley grown for Briess, we require our growers to grow our own seed. Our 2019 contracted growers started arriving at the Briess Seed Plant in Powell, WY, several weeks ago to pick up their seed. The Seed Plant is just up the road from our elevator and barley processing operation in Ralston, WY. We know our barley seed is pure, because we control every step of the process from purchasing the seed to accepting the barley at harvest time.

The process begins after the previous year’s harvest is complete. We start by purchasing only certified seed. Barley seed is certified as pure by third-party certifying agencies. Each lot of seed barley is tracked by lot number throughout the process to assure purity to the seed standards for the State of Wyoming.

Cameron pulls a sample of barley seed just received at the Powell Seed Plant. Then we clean, treat and store it.
The barley seed sample taken by Cameron will be kept until the end of the 2019 barley harvest.

The sample of barley seed we purchased provides an added level of security. If concerns are spotted by the grower during the growing season and at harvest, that could impact the purity of the crop. The sample gives the grower, his agronomist and Briess a control during the investigation.

Purchased barley is received at the Briess Seed Plant. When it’s received, we pull a sample and store it until the crop year is complete. Then we treat, clean and store it. Before distributing it, the barley seed is re-certified by the University of Wyoming Seed Certification Service. When the grower picks up his seed, we pull another backup sample.

We do all this to assure our malthouses are malting only pure barley, and our customers are purchasing pure malt from Briess. Everybody knows what they’re getting, and they’re getting high-quality, pure product.