2017 Report: Quality of Western Canadian Malting Barley

January 29, 2018

Top Quality Malting Barley Despite Dry 2017

Mother Nature challenged farmers across the Prairies during 2017 with dry conditions and above-normal temperatures, but it didn’t stop malt barley growers from producing a great crop.

According to a report co-authored by the Grain Research Laboratory (GRL) and the Canadian Malting Barley Technical Centre (CMBTC), the season resulted in an “ample supply of excellent malt quality barley with slightly lower than average protein levels, and heavier and plumper kernels compared with the 10-year average.”

Malting barley quality report highlights

There are several more highlights in ‘Quality of Western Canadian Malting Barley 2017,’ which is an annual publication featuring results of the barley harvest survey conducted by the GRL and CMBTC. The 2017 report is based on composites of individual varieties representing over two million tonnes of barley selected in Western Canada for malting by grain handling and malting companies. Here are some notable findings:

  • Barley exhibited very high germination energy and vigour with little evidence of water sensitivity. 
  • The majority of samples had very low incidence of pre-harvest sprouting.
  • Malt made from 2017 barley resulted in high levels of malt extract.
  • The levels of enzymes in malts were adequate and close to the long-term average values.
  • Brewing trials indicated that malts made from CDC Copeland, AC Metcalfe, and AAC Synergy performed satisfactorily without posing any processing difficulties.

Snapshot of total barley production

The GRL and CMBTC report also provides a snapshot of barley production across the Prairies. Total barley production is estimated at about 6.9 million tonnes in 2017. This is a decrease of approximately 10% compared to 2016. The report suggests that reduced barley yields and a drop in the barley seeded area contributed to this decline.

The average barley yield in Western Canada is estimated at 69.8 bushels per acre in 2017, which is down about four bushels per acre from 2016. In addition, the total area seeded to barley in 2017 was 2.2 million hectares, indicating a 10% decrease compared to the 2016 acreage.

Provincial breakdowns can be viewed in the full report located here on the Canadian Grain Commission website.


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