WIMMERA barley varieties were recently showcased in China.
Grain Producers Australia chairman and Rupanyup farmer Andrew Weidemann visited the country last month to take part in barley information sessions.
The workshops were attended by more than 160 representatives of major brewing companies, members of the livestock industry and traders.
Mr Weidemann was involved in two Australian barley technical workshops in the cities of Guangzhou and Beijing.
The workshops were hosted by the Australian Export Grains Innovation Centre and Barley Australia, in collaboration with Austrade, CSIRO, SeedNet and InterGrain.
He said the visit had been greatly successful in promoting Australian barley to its biggest buyer.
“China is by far the largest receiver of Australian barley,” he said.
“They don’t just use it for beer, but they also use it as feed for their livestock. It’s a really big market and one that is essential to tap into.”
Mr Weidemann said there needed to be more information shared between Australian barley exporters and Chinese importers.
“The takeaway message for me was that there needs to be more information to help them understand what’s going on in the Australian barley industry,” he said.
“They wanted more information on new varieties being produced in Australia, as well as what growers were looking to plant in the future.
“It was really interesting seeing first hand the lack of information they had, so this was a chance for them to get more of an understanding from growers.
“A lot can be gained speaking face-to-face, so that’s why this trip was important.
“They aren’t aware about why growers in Australia choose different and new varieties of barley. But that’s also kind of the same attitude here in Australia with brewers.
“It’s very typical for a major brewery house to stick to a particular type of barley once they get used to it.”
He said popular, new barley varieties such as Spartacus, Planet, Compass and Flinders were of interest to China.
“They were also looking at getting in touch with growers as well and learning from them,” he said.
“I will be hosting a number of visits from brewery representatives soon. We had lots of positive feedback which bodes well with Australia in terms of trade conditions heading into the future.
“If we can get 1.4 billion people drinking beer made from Australian crop, then that will be a huge success.”
The total volume of beer sold in China reached 45.6 billion litres in 2016.