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There’s A Market For “Naked” Barley
Patrick Hayes is excited about the potential for Buck, a “naked” winter barley soon to be released for production. Like hulless oats, naked barley loses its hulls at harvest. That means there’s more actual barley kernel in every pound. It also means naked barley berries can go directly to milling for flour, flaking or steaming, or simply be added to soups. While important for food and feed use, it may be especially important in malting.
    “The hull accounts for 10 percent or more of wet grain,” explains Hayes, professor, Crop Science, Oregon State University. “Hulls are insoluble dietary fiber. They are not food for yeast. This could impact brewing and distilling efficiency.”
    Losing the hull at harvest means food processors don’t have to grind it away to produce pearled barley. The grinding also strips out part of the nutrient rich bran. Naked barley retains all the bran, retaining its whole grain status and attributes.
    Hayes and other researchers have been developing naked barley varieties and uses for 10 years or more. Buck, the project’s first pure line of naked winter barley, is high yielding with less need for fertilizer and water than wheat. It will go to foundation seed producers this fall.
    “Buck naked barley has an optimum level of beta-glucan, a soluble dietary fiber that lowers cholesterol and aids digestion,” says Hayes. “If the beta-glucan level is too high, it complicates things for animal nutrition and brewing, but Buck meets food, feed, and brewing needs.”
    Hayes prefers starting his day with flaked naked barley. He shared some with FARM SHOW. Prepared like oatmeal, the barley retains its shape and presents a cleaner, less creamy or mushy texture than oatmeal.
    Any whole grain baked goods, porridges, grits and cereals can be made from naked barley. The only thing lacking, Hayes adds, is a clear standard for the grain and flour to allow bakers and others to make more use of barley.
    “Naked barley has been around for 10,000 years, but we didn’t have any varieties selected for the Pacific Northwest,” says Hayes. “Buck is the first, and it has also done well in field trials in the upper Midwest and New York.”
    Other varieties in the pipeline include one that yields better than Buck and has better disease resistance.
    The OSU Barley Project research team is working with the food and beverage industry on products that could use Buck and future introductions. In addition to naked barley brewed beers, the grain can also be roasted like coffee beans, almost to a carbonized level. It is then brewed as tea.
    “Roasted barley tea is popular in Asia,” says Hayes. “It is served hot or cold and is available in vending machines in Japan. I like mine as a sun tea.”
    Tea producers in Oregon and British Columbia are now working with Buck, and Hayes expects to see other uses beyond baking, brewing and tea.
    “Covered barley has had a bad rap in the poultry industry because of excess beta-glucan,” he says. “Our work with naked barley with modest beta-glucan was able to replace a significant amount of corn in poultry rations.”
    If FARM SHOW readers want to experiment with their own naked barley, they can request a sample of the Oregon Naked Barley Blend. It is derived from 33 crosses of 28 different parental lines and 40 different grandparental lines. The diverse germplasm can be planted winter or spring and left to natural selection or selected and replanted as individual lines. For samples of the blend, contact brigid.meints@oregonstate.edu.
    Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Patrick Hayes, Barley Project, 253A Crop Science Bldg., Oregon State University, Corvallis, Ore. 97331 (ph 541 737-5878; patrick.m.hayes@oregonstate.edu; https://barleyworld.org).

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2020 - Volume #44, Issue #4