Celebrating barley—the 'soul' of beer

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Celebrating barley—the 'soul' of beer

Great beer needs great ingredients, and one of the most important is barley – often called the ‘soul’ of beer.

As the world’s largest brewer we also happen to be the biggest user of malted barley. We have more than 20,000 barley suppliers across the globe, from large-scale commercial growers in Argentina to smallholder farmers in Tanzania.

Each year we celebrate our enduring partnerships with barley farmers through a series of Grower Days. These occasions give us a chance to recognize barley growers for the vital contribution they make to our business and the industry. These days are also an opportunity to showcase new crop varieties as well as emerging practices and technologies in agricultural production… and, of course, to share a cold beer!

This year we are hosting a large scale Grower Day in South Africa. The event takes place on September 21 at the SAB Barley Farm in Caledon, Western Cape. Many of our 300+ barley farmers in the country will join us, representing the production of approximately 320,000 tonnes of barley each year.

During the day, we will talk with farmers about the cutting-edge SmartBarley program, which we launched in 2013. This initiative is all about allowing farmers to make use of ‘big data’ to get more from their land in a sustainable manner. They can benchmark their performance against other farmers and then work with our agronomists to address gaps and opportunities.

Through our local agriculture teams and partners, we’re working more closely than ever with barley farmers around the world. This has already resulted in a number of successes. For example, in the United States, we’ve helped our farmers to use less water through more efficient irrigation systems; while in India, we’ve set up a local barley program with smallholder farmers and helped them increase yields through better crop management and varieties.

To build on the SmartBarley program, we’ve launched a global partnership with agriculture technology firm Agrible Inc. As part of this collaboration, our barley farmers across the world will be able to use Agrible’s Morning Farm Report software package, which can help them detect disease threats earlier, improve logistics planning, monitor crops as they grow in the field and improve quality.

We will celebrate this partnership, as well as our agricultural progress and innovation, side by side with South African farmers as they gather in Caledon. We’ll also be able to raise a glass to the 610 million rand that we’ve committed to investing in the development of the country’s agriculture sector – which will enable farmers to expand the production of hops, barley and maize, and create additional jobs.  

Investments like these are part of our commitment to ensuring that agriculture continues to be a driver of sustainable development. enhancing rural livelihoods while also protecting vital natural resources. By helping our growers to farm more smartly, we believe we can help to create a Better World.