Australian Barley Production
Australia produces high quality 2-row barley, with annual production averaging over 9 million tonnes/year. It is a widely grown crop (second in size only to wheat) and occupies a large geographic area – around 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 (Japanese distilled spirit) 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 to 2.5 million tonnes of malting barley and over 6 million tonnes of barley for other uses (mainly animal feed). The average Australian malting selection rate is the highest of the world’s exporting nations with around 30-40 % of our barley national crop selected as malting quality.
Domestic & Export Demand
Domestically, malting barley demand by the Australian maltsters (for supplying both domestic and export malt markets) is around 1.1 million tonnes per year and Australian domestic feed use is around 2 million tonnes each year. Australia’s major domestic 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 70% of the total barley crop exported annually. Breaking that down to malt and non-malting barley, around 1.3 million tonnes of malting barley, and around 4.2 million tonnes of non-malting barley are also exported each year, though these figures vary from season to season.
To put that into a global perspective, Australia makes up around 30-40 % of the world’s surplus malting barley trade and approximately 20% of the world’s surplus feed barley trade2. On a production basis Australia makes up around 5% of the world’s total annual barley production.
- Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES)
- Australian Export Grain Innovation Centre (AEGIC)