Idaho’s barley industry enjoyed a bounce back in 2022, and appears to have recovered from the 2021 drought.  Idaho Barley Commission’s Laura Wilder said this year, growers reported 59.9 million bushels, with the average price of $7.59 per bushel.


“According to USDA Ag Statistics Service data, that puts just the crop value alone at $454.9 million,” Wilder said. “What's significant there is that's more than doubled 2021, because the average price per bushel went up from 5$.08 last year to $7.59 this year, and then the huge increase in production that 37% increase made the value of this year's crop more than double the value of the 2021 crop.”


Wilder noted that 2021 crop saw only 43.6 million bushels with 89 bushels per acre.  However she noted farmers continue to struggle with the supply-chain issues, as well as skyrocketing input costs, and soil pH levels becoming acidic.


In an Idaho Grain Market report from September 15th, the Idaho Barley Commission reported that some farmers discovered acidic pH levels in their soil, resulting in failed barley yields.  University of Idaho Extension barley agronomist Jared Spackman and UI Extension cropping systems agronomist Kurt Schroeder state that the soil in northern Idaho is becoming increasingly acidic, which is creating a variety of problems.  Spackman created a study on applying sugar beet lime to raise the soil pH level, however the lime supply is limited in northern Idaho and raising production costs for farmers.  But despite the headwinds, Wilder expects 2023 to be a good year for growers, due to increase moisture across the PNW.


“The season looks to be a wet winter, which is good,” Wilder said. “Barley is a crop that requires less water than some other crops, so no matter what the situation, barley will be a good choice for next year.”


That, combined with the grain industry and brewing companies still reeling from 2021, they will most likely depend on the barley industry’s reliable outputs.  Idaho produces 34.4% of the U.S. barley crop.


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