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Australia produces high quality 2-row barley, with annual production averaging around 8 million tonnes/year. It is a widely grown crop (second in size only to wheat) and occupies a large geographic area – almost 4 million hectares – and it is dispersed from southern Queensland through to Western Australia.
Australia has an enviable reputation for producing a reliable supply of high-quality barley in a contaminant-free climate. Australian barley is highly sought after by the malting, brewing, distilling, shochu and feed industries world-wide and is well known for its low moisture content and low foreign material.
"Foreign Material is defined as material that is foreign and alien to barley."
Australia produces on average around 2.3 million tonnes of malting barley and 6 million tonnes of feed barley and the average Australian malting selection rate is the highest of the world's exporting nations with around 30-35% of our barley national crop selected as malting quality.
Domestically, malting barley demand is around 1 million tonnes per year and Australian domestic feed use is around 2 million tonnes each year. Domestic locally-based brewers are tightly linked into Australia 's barley production and strong relationships exist between all facets of the industry – from breeder to brewer and all stages in between.
Australia is comparatively export focussed with approximately 60% of the total barley crop exported annually. Breaking that down to malt and feed barley, around 1.3 million tonnes of malting barley, and around 4.2 million tonnes of feed are also exported each year, though these figures vary from season to season.
To put that in a global perspective, Australia makes up over 30% of the world's malting barley trade and approximately 20% of the world's feed barley trade. On a production basis (as opposed to actual inter-country trade), Australia makes up around 5% of the world's annual barley global production.