Quality of Western Canadian malting barley 2016 - Barley production

Barley production

Annual statistics

The total area planted with barley in Western Canada in 2016 was 2.465 million hectares, indicating a slight decrease (1.9%) compared to the 2015 acreage. However, the production of barley in Western Canada in 2016, estimated at about 8.4 million tonnes, was about 7.5% higher than in 2015. The higher barley production in 2016 compared to 2015 was due to very high yields this year. The average barley yield in 2016 is estimated at 73.9 bushels per acre compared to 65.0 bushels per acre in 2015 and 62.0 bushels per acre in 2014 (Statistics Canada, CANSIM Table 001-0017).

Barley production in Alberta, including the northeastern part of BC, and in Saskatchewan increased by 2.3% and 17.9%, respectively, compared to last year. In Manitoba, the seeded acreage decreased by 9.9% and the production decreased by 4.6% compared to last year. In 2016, the area seeded with barley was about 17.5% lower than the 10-year average; however, the production of barley was only 1.8% lower than the 10-year average (2006-2015).

Yearly comparison of barley seeded area and production in Western CanadaFootnote1
  Seeded area Production
2016 2015 2014 2006-2015 average 2016 2015 2014 2006-2015 average
million hectares million tonnes
Manitoba 0.146 0.162 0.121 0.238 0.540 0.566 0.355 0.730
Saskatchewan 1.002 0.971 0.809 1.175 3.375 2.863 2.173 3.119
Alberta and British Columbia 1.318 1.380 1.317 1.575 4.457 4.357 4.174 4.678
Western Canada 2.465 2.513 2.248 2.988 8.372 7.786 6.702 8.572

Barley production and barley seeded area in Western Canada from 2006 to 2016

Graph:Malting barley tonnes produced and hectares seeded,2006-16.Details below
  • Details
    Annual production and area seeded to malting barley for 2006 to 2016
    Year Seeded area (million hectares) Production (million tonnes)
    2006 3.446 8.868
    2007 4.182 10.254
    2008 3.577 11.209
    2009 3.308 8.924
    2010 2.598 6.984
    2011 2.460 7.307
    2012 2.835 7.488
    2013 2.709 9.748
    2014 2.248 6.702
    2015 2.513 7.786
    2016 2.465 8.372
    10-year average 2.988 8.527

Barley is a versatile crop grown for malting, general purpose (feed and forage) and food in a widespread area across the Canadian Prairies. This year in Alberta (including parts of British Columbia), general purpose barley accounted for 55.1% of total barley seeded area compared with malting barley at 43.6%. In Saskatchewan, the majority of seeded area (73.6%) was planted with malting barley varieties. In Manitoba, about 50.3% of barley seeded area was allocated to malting varieties and 47.7% to the general-purpose barley. Overall malting barley accounted for 56.2% of the area seeded with barley in Western Canada compared with general purpose barley at 37.3%. Food barley continued to occupy a relatively small percentage of seeded acres in each province, although this year the production of food barley was higher than last year.

Distribution of barley classes as a percentage of total area seeded with barley in Western Canada in 2016

Map:Monthly average precipitation in Prairies, Apr.1-Sept.25,2016.Described below.
Data Source: Sask Crop Insurance, Alberta Ag Financial Services Corp, Manitoba Management Plus Program, BC Crop Insurance
  • Details
    Distribution of barley classes as percentage of total area seeded to barley in three Western Canada provinces in 2016
    Province Malting Food General Purpose Not specified
    Manitoba 50.3 0.9 47.7 1.1
    Saskatchewan 73.6 0.4 12.3 13.8
    Alberta and British Columbia 43.6 0.8 55.1 0.5
    Western Canada 56.2 0.6 37.3 5.9

In 2016, AC Metcalfe and CDC Copeland continued to dominate the portfolio of malting barley cultivars being grown and selected in Western Canada, representing about 78.9% of total area seeded with malting barley. However, for the first time the area seeded with CDC Copeland significantly exceeded the acreage seeded with AC Metcalfe. In comparison to last year, the acreage seeded with AC Metcalfe in 2016 decreased by 11.2%, whereas the acreage allocated to CDC Copeland increased by 26.3%. The third most popular variety in 2016 was AAC Synergy whose acreage increased significantly compared to previous years. The area seeded with Newdale, Bentley, and CDC Meredith decreased in 2016 compared to 2015. The area planted with several newer two-row cultivars, including CDC Kindersley, CDC PolarStar, Merit 57, as well as the most recently registered CDC Bow and AAC Connect, remained small, together accounting for less than 2.5% of area seeded with malting barley varieties in Western Canada. 

The production of six-row malting barley continued to decline. In 2016, the six-row cultivars occupied only about 5.7% of the total area seeded with malting barley compared to 6.5% in 2015.  Legacy, Celebration and Tradition remained the top three six-row varieties. The production of two-row cultivars dominated in Alberta and Saskatchewan with CDC Copeland occupying the largest area in Alberta and AC Metcalfe in Saskatchewan. AAC Synergy prevailed among the two-row varieties seeded in Manitoba, but a relatively large portion of land in Manitoba was also seeded with six-row varieties, especially Celebration and Tradition.

Distribution of malting barley cultivars as percentage of area seeded with malting barley in Western Canada

Data source: Sask Crop Insurance, Alberta Ag Financial Services Corp, Manitoba Management Plus Program, & BC Crop Insurance

Two-row malting barley cultivars, % of area seeded with malting barley in Western Canada
Variety 2016 2015 2014
CDC Copeland 44.70 35.38 29.81
AC Metcalfe 34.20 38.50 38.87
AAC Synergy 5.19 0.84 0.21
Newdale 3.07 5.23 5.69
Bentley 2.71 3.35 2.37
CDC Meredith 1.84 5.24 9.81
CDC Kindersley 0.91 1.70 0.95
CDC Polarstar 0.93 1.44 2.05
Merit 57 0.20 0.67 0.65
Merit 16 0.18    
Major 0.13 0.43 0.75
Merit   0.24  
CDC Kendall 0.08 0.16 0.21
Cerveza 0.04 0.02 0.03
Harrington 0.04 0.16 0.27
CDC Bow 0.01    
AAC Connect 0.01    
Other 0.09 0.19  
Total 94.3 93.5 91.7
Six-row malting barley cultivars, % of area seeded with malting barley in Western Canada
Variety 2016 2015 2014
Legacy 3.17 3.25 4.45
Celebration 1.17 1.31 1.14
Tradition 0.63 0.90 1.27
Stellar ND 0.12 0.15 0.50
Lacey 0.11 0.14 0.25
CDC Yorkton 0.11 0.22 0.33
CDC Anderson 0.10 0.07 0.03
Robust 0.09 0.13 0.11
CDC Battleford 0.09 0.12 0.10
Excel 0.04 0.12 0.10
Other 0.03 0.00  
Total 5.7 6.5 8.4

Distribution of malting barley cultivars as percentage of area seeded with malting barley in each province in 2016

Data source: Sask Crop Insurance, Alberta Ag Financial Services Corp, Manitoba Management Plus Program, & BC Crop Insurance

Two-row malting barley cultivars, % of area seeded with malting barley in Western Canada
Variety Alberta and British Columbia Saskatchewan Manitoba
CDC Copeland 55.97 38.95 13.00
AC Metcalfe 24.84 43.44 14.40
AAC Synergy 4.54 4.45 18.02
Newdale 3.47 1.75 13.44
Bentley 4.91 0.71 5.61
CDC Meredith 2.17 1.74 0.24
CDC Kindersley 1.36 0.51 1.42
CDC Polarstar 0.18 1.61 0.00
Merit 57 0.49 0.00 0.00
Merit 16 0.37 0.04 0.00
Major 0.18 0.10 0.00
CDC Kendall 0.13 0.05 0.00
Harrington 0.10 0.00 0.00
Cervaza 0.10 0.00 0.00
CDC Bow 0.03 0.00 0.00
AAC Connect 0.01 0.00 0.00
Other 0.14 0.05 0.04
Total 98.97 93.40 66.17
Six-row malting barley cultivars, % of area seeded with malting barley in each province
Variety Alberta and British Columbia Saskatchewan Manitoba
Legacy 0.27 5.59 1.71
Celebration 0.01 0.39 18.50
Tradition 0.00 0.30 9.14
Stellar ND 0.00 0.07 1.67
Lacey 0.06 0.00 1.69
CDC Yorkton 0.07 0.11 0.41
Robust 0.05 0.07 0.67
CDC Anderson 0.24 0.00 0.00
CDC Battleford 0.21 0.00 0.01
CDC Kamsack 0.02 0.00 0.00
CDC Mayfair 0.01 0.00 0.00
Excel 0.01 0.07 0.00
Other 0.07 0.00 0.03
Total 1.03 6.60 33.84

Recommended malting barley varieties for 2017 to 2018

The Canadian Malting Barley Technical Centre (CMBTC) in collaboration with its member organizations and other industry groups produces an annual Recommended Malting Barley Varieties List which is intended as a guide to assist producers in the selection of varieties for seeding in the coming year.

Two-row malting barley varieties
Variety Market comments
CDC CopelandFootnote2 Established demand
AC MetcalfeFootnote2 Established demand
AAC SynergyFootnote5 Growing demand
BentleyFootnote3 Limited demand
NewdaleFootnote4 Limited demand
CDC PolarStarFootnote3 Limited demand
CDC KindersleyFootnote2 Under commercial market development

For Bentley or Newdale contracting opportunities contact Canada Malting Company. For CDC PolarStar (and CDC PlatinumStar) contracting opportunities contact Prairie Malt-Cargill.

Canadian Malting Barley Technical Centre and its members recommend that growers consult with their local malting barley buyer about opportunities in specific areas to grow and market two-row and six-row malting barley varieties, and that certified seeds are used to ensure varietal purity,  reduce disease incidence, and increase the likelihood of selection for malt.

Six-row malting barley varieties
Variety Market comments
LegacyFootnote4 Limited demand
TraditionFootnote4 Limited demand
CelebrationFootnote3 Limited demand

New varieties in development

The following varieties have been registered with Canadian Food Inspection Agency and are undergoing seed propagation. Both varieties have been pilot tested at the Canadian Malting Barley Technical Centre and exhibit good quality characteristics suitable for all malt and adjunct brewing styles.

New varieties
Variety Comments
AAC ConnectFootnote3 Two-row - Undergoing seed propagation
CDC BowFootnote2 Two-row - Undergoing seed propagation
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