Millard County farmers may be looking at a new crop that would improve their economy - malting barley.

There is a market for such a product, and Utah State University County Extension Agent Larry Campbell has contacted companies that buy it.Great Western Malting Co., which has plants in California and Idaho, contracts with growers. A representative has offered to meet with Millard County farmers late this fall.

Contract prices during the last three years ranged from $4.54 to $5.09 per hundredweight for contracted malting barley. This exceeds the general price for feed barley.

Another company, Rahr Malting Co. in Minnesota, buys on the free market. That price has been 10 to 15 cents above the feed market.

Campbell said there is a difference between feed and malting barley. The latter yields less but has greater energy and market premium.