Grain and Gain — OSU Barley Breakthrough

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SciShort_9_10_15Maybe I’ve just been living in the valley too long, but how come nobody is talking about the new barley strains being released by OSU? I know a new grain release is not as exciting as say a new Taylor Swift release, at least not in the metro-centers, but this is Corvallis.

OSU just announced two new barley strains, Buck and BSR-27, which could be huge for brewers, bakers, and candlestick makers livestock. The new grains were the product of a collaboration between the OSU Agricultural Experiment Station, the Oregon Wheat Commission, and the USDA.

According to the press release, Buck has “a soft kernel texture [42.6 SKCS units], a measure of grain hardness, modest grain Beta glucan [4.0 percent], and a grain protein content of 10.6 percent.” If that means anything to you, you know it’s interesting news with positive outcomes tied to it. That means Buck would be a great source of fiber for making bread. It’s also nice because it’s a high-yield winter barley that performs well in the Northwest. But perhaps Patrick Hayes, head of OSU’s barley breeding program, can help with a better visualization for us laypeople.

“Imagine an all-barley Hefeweizen,” said Hayes in the press release.

The Ag Marketing Resource Center claims upwards of 75%, or 177 million bushels, of barley grown in the US is used for beer production. And obviously I don’t need to tell you a fair number of those bushels probably got turned into beer right in Oregon, so this is, to say the least, big news.

BSR-27 makes less of a splash with its rust- and mildew-resistant hooded barley that makes for great forage. That’s big news for all the grazers in our community, but probably only a few of these cows and goats read The Advocate anyway.

By sidney Reailly

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