Where is the market going with AAC Synergy and what is Syngenta doing to help it grow? Those are two questions that malt barley growers may be pondering as they make their seed decisions for 2019.
“AAC Synergy is on the perfect trajectory for market development,” says Bev Jones, Cereal Seed Product Lead for Syngenta, adding that growers should have good confidence to include it in their cropping plans.
Registered by Syngenta in 2012, AAC Synergy has been featured on the list of recommended malting barley varieties from the Canadian Malting Barley Technical Centre (CMBTC) since 2015. It was the third most popular variety grown on the Prairies in 2018, according to the ‘Quality of Western Canadian Malting Barley 2018,’ a report co-authored by the Grain Research Laboratory (GRL) and CMBTC.
The annual survey shows that AAC Synergy has continuously increased acreage since 2014, with nearly a four percent boost between 2017 and 2018.
“If you look at Copeland, it was registered in 1999 and took 12 to 15 years to get that really good market share. AAC Synergy is building and still in growing demand,” says Jones.
The CMBTC report describes AAC Synergy as an “excellent combination of agronomic traits, disease resistance and malting quality that makes it a desirable two-rowed malting barley variety for western Canadian producers and the malting and brewing industry.”
Jones couldn’t agree more. “It’s a good-performing variety. The agronomics of it – particularly the yield bump that it gets, which can be 15 percent above Metcalfe and eight percent above Copeland1 – make it a very good variety, which is helping it grow in demand.”
Chris Spasoff, Malt Barley Technical Development Lead for Syngenta, agrees that the yield potential it offers growers is exciting. “If you look at Synergy, we've got the biggest yield out there, and we have a high extract per acre, too. So, it means you can make more beer per acre,” she says. That extraction number is appealing to maltsters both home and abroad.
Domestic and export potential
“Syngenta has been doing a lot of activities here on the home front developing the domestic market and domestic malt acceptance. Most of the maltsters will do contracts for Synergy and have been happy with the malt quality they're getting,” says Jones.
Both Jones and Spasoff applaud CMBTC for its hard work in encouraging export markets to take a look at Synergy. They have especially done well to encourage Chinese buyers – and it appears their market acceptance efforts are paying off. “A major brewery has accepted Synergy into all their malt houses in China,” confirms Spasoff, adding that the expanding export market coupled with domestic malt contracts and the feed market give malt producers plenty of end use opportunities.
1 Source: 2018 Alberta and Saskatchewan provincial seed guides.