Eight field experiments were conducted at four sites in the UK in 2003 and 2004 to investigate the effects of sulphur (S) application on yield and malting quality of barley. Significant yield responses to S additions were obtained in five out of the eight experiments, with yield increases ranging from 0.2 to 1.2 t/ha (4.7-22.5%). At the two most S-deficient sites, S application significantly increased malt diastatic power, alpha-amylase activity, friability and homogeneity, and decreased (1→3,1→4)-β-glucan concentration in the wort, indicating an improved endosperm modification during malting. Sulphur applications also significantly increased the concentration of S-methylmethionine (the precursor of dimethylsulphide) in kilned malt, which could impact on beer flavour. When the supply of N was limiting, S applications decreased grain N concentration due to a dilution effect as a result of increased grain yield. In some cases, S applications resulted in decreased grain size. At sites non-deficient or marginally deficient in S, applications of S had little effect on grain or malting quality parameters. The need to maintain an adequate S supply to barley for both yield and malting quality was demonstrated.
- Malting quality
- Yield response