North Dakota holds the #1 spot in barley production. Soon they could find themselves settling for 3rd, behind Idaho & Montana.
Barley for malting is is considered higher quality, and fetches a higher market payoff. Lower grade barley feeds cattle. Malting barley requires cooler temperatures and drier conditions. The last few seasons it has been warmer and wetter, not ideal for beer barley. It all comes down to price. Farmers planted a season low of just 460,000 acres of malt barley. It all comes down to price. If a crop like soybeans brings in more at market, you plant it. [TheRepublic]