Beyond beef and barley soup: Development of nutritionally dense, hulless food barley varieties for organic farmers

Barley has well-documented nutritional advantages over other small grains as a source of human food.  Researchers from WSU have been breeding and selecting hulless food barley types, a novel and promising market class for Washington growers. For this current project, our research and extension goals are to: 1) identify and release high yielding, disease resistant, and nutritious hulless food barley varieties optimally adapted to organic farming systems; 2) collaborate with organic farmers and leading chefs to expand the knowledge base, awareness of, and action towards including food barley in our food and farming systems. Our hulless spring food barley nursery will be grown on three organic farms in 2014, including the WSU Organic Farm, Finnriver Organic Farm, and Harvest Ridge Organic Farm.   Grain yield, disease resistance, plant height, tolerance to lodging, and other agronomic traits will be evaluated.  Post-harvest, the grain will be analyzed for nutritional composition of tocols, phenols, β-glucans, and mineral nutrients.  To develop a flavor profile and a unique extension methodology, world renowned chef collaborators will lead a team of chefs to test flour from our different barley lines in diverse food products for both performance and flavor. Results will be disseminated through field days at all trial locations, and through a diverse range of outlets including farmer-targeted print publications and web-based media. Ultimately this project proposes the release in the near future of one or more hulless food barley varieties that exhibit optimal nutritional quality, taste, food quality, and yield in organic systems.

Grant Information

  • Project ID: 133
  • Project Status: Complete


  • Principal Investigator(s): Murphy, K.
  • Investigator(s): Kinney, R., Matanguihan, J., Norrato, G.
  • Grant Amount: $38,000
  • 2014 Progress Report (PDF)