IT’S not often that South Australia’s Coopers Brewery invites barley farmers in during a bottling run, but Seed Force has hosted three farming families who grew RGT Planet barley to see the results of last season’s harvest come off the production line in the famous green box.
The South Australian farmers included Neville and Celia Kernick from Field, Simon and Priscilla Mildren from Mundoora, and Tony Mackereth, who farms with his wife Elaine, at Padthaway.
All three cropped the RGT Planet barley which was delivered directly to Coopers.
Coopers Brewery maltings manager, Doug Stewart, enjoyed the opportunity to share a visit to the state-of-the-art barley malting facility.
“We don’t often have visits from our supplying barley growers here at the plant, let alone being able to show them the actual bottles their barley is in, going through the production line,” he said.
There was plenty of curiosity from both sides of the production process as the group took a full tour of the malting, brewing and bottling facilities.
“It’s a great chance to speak directly with these top growers about their operations. We have talked a lot and asked each other plenty of questions,” Mr Stewart said.
“It’s a great way for me to understand how things work at their end, and they were wanting to know about what we look for in the grain.”
Tony and Elaine Mackereth produced Australia’s first large scale block of RGT Planet as summer crop in 2015-16. They were then one of six properties to grow it commercially in 2016.
Mr Mackereth agreed that it was a unique opportunity for the group.
“It’s been so interesting to be here and see first-hand what happens with our barley when it goes into beer,” he said.
“We are grateful to Seed Force for inviting us along – the Coopers set-up is amazing. I didn’t realise there’s so much that goes on in the beer-making process, and the volumes they handle are staggering.
“It is not every day you get to see your barley being poured into a bottle and boxed up. It’s pretty special. I definitely have a greater appreciation of what goes into each bottle, and how what we do on the farm can help with that process.”
Global variety performs well locally
RGT Planet is a malting spring barley variety that is in trials, production and processing in more than 44 countries across Europe, North and South America and Africa.
Seed Force, part of French-based RAGT Group that is responsible for breeding the variety, has been testing and developing it locally for the past six years.
According to Seed Force technical and extension agronomist, David Leah, it is a unique barley in that it performs well in all kinds of conditions and can be grown successfully across different geographies.
“In Australia, it was in the 2016 and 2017 National Variety Trials and will be in the 2018 program,” Mr Leah said.
“It seems to hold on to condition and finish well as the season changes, and then still yield at impressive rates.
“This capacity to adapt to a large range of conditions across the world is fantastic, and we are delighted with its performance in Australia.”
Preferred by the world
RGT Planet barley is approved for malting in different parts of the world by Malteurop, Boortmalt, Groupe Soufflet, Cargill, Viking Malt and an increasing number of local maltsters.
It is used by international brewers including ABInBev, Carlsberg, Coors, Heineken, Guinness, SAB Miller and San Miguel.
Malting quality approval is pending in Australia, with the result to be known in March 2019.
Source: Seed Force