The San Luis Valley is the major barley producing region for Colorado; it produces over 85% of the state’s barley. Most of the barley grown here is malt barley; mostly being contracted to Miller Coors Brewing Co. They contract over 40,000 acres each year of their own varity, Moravian 69. It is planted with certified seed and purchased only if it meets Coors’ stringent quality requirements. Coors’ barley is tested for moisture, protein, skinned and broken kernels, mold, foreign materials and many other criteria.
In our area malt barley is usually planted in early April and harvested in early August. Early planting is a strategy for harvesting ahead of the mid-August monsoon rains. Barley is irrigated every 3-4 days and requires about 16-18 inches of irrigation. Weeds and disease are important factors. Malt barley is usually swathed to hasten uni-form ripening, then it is combined with a pickup attachment. The barley is either put in farm bins or delivered to the Coors elevator in Monte Vista.
3 Three kinds of wheat are produced in the San Luis Valley: soft white spring wheat for crackers and cookies, hard red spring wheat for bread, and durum for macaroni and pasta products.
Wheat is a cool season crop, producing better yields under milder temperatures. The cool Valley nights and mild and bright sunny days are ideal for producing plump kernels and high yields up to 160 bu/acre. Wheat is planted in April and not harvested until September. The long grain fill time contributes to large, plump kernels and high yields. Durums and red wheats require high protein grain; the soft whites require low protein. It is difficult to produce both high yield and high protein.
Ponderosa Partnership produces registered and certified Maverick Oat Seed. Oat variety selection is difficult in Colorado because of limited availability of quality seed. Frequently, feed quality oats may contain noxious and other weed seeds, and may be of unknown varieties that may adapts poorly to your farm. Ponderosa plants certified seed with a known germination, purity and varity and offers high quality seed for sale.