SOUTH DEERFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – On Wednesday, agricultural students at UMass Amherst got hands-on with their crops at an agricultural field day in South Deerfield.
Dozens of students got the chance to network with other growers and consumers.
There were three sessions. One focused on growing cover crops. Cover crops are crops that are not harvested, but instead are grown to put nutrients back into the soil.
Another session focused on bees, and trying to prevent disease, like the one that’s killed about 40% of the bee population.
The final session focused on how to grow barley that can be used by breweries to ferment and turn into beer.
Associate Professor Masoud Hashemi told 22News, “A lot of growers are always looking for a new commodity to increase their income and barley fits very well in their crop rotation and there is a huge market for local barley. The craft breweries, they are always looking to buy.”
The Berkshire Brewing Company in South Deerfield is one of the local craft brewers that told 22News they use barley instead of corn or wheat like a mass producer.
After the barley is grown at the UMass farm, most of it will be used for research purposes.