Quality of Western Canadian malting barley 2019

Summary

Total barley production in Western Canada in 2019 is estimated at 9,996,300 tonnes, which represents an increase of 25.0% compared to 2018. The higher barley production in 2019 has been attributed to an increase in barley-seeded area this year. The total area planted with barley in Western Canada in 2019 was 2,878,000 hectares, indicating a 15.1% increase compared to the 2018 acreage. The average yield for barley in Canada is estimated at 68.5 bushels per acre in 2019 compared to 70.8 bushels per acre in 2018.

CDC Copeland (44.03%), AC Metcalfe (23.70%) and AAC Synergy (19.20%) dominated the portfolio of malting barley cultivars being grown in 2019 in Western Canada. In 2019, the area seeded with CDC Copeland and AC Metcalfe decreased by 2.3% and 6.1%, respectively, compared to 2018. On the other hand, the area seeded with AAC Synergy increased by 8% in 2019 compared to 2018. The area seeded with each of the newer barley varieties, such as AAC Connect, CDC Bow, CDC Fraser, Sirish, Lowe, and CDC Copper, slightly increased in 2019.

The relatively dry and cool growing season in 2019 produced barley with lower kernel weight and protein concentration compared to 2018. Overall, protein content in barley grain averaged at 11.5% dry basis (db) in 2019 compared to 11.9% (db) in 2018. The 1000 kernel weight of this year’s barley averaged at 45.1 g compared to 46.7 g last year. The average kernel size and kernel weight of the newer Canadian malting barley varieties, such as AAC Synergy, AAC Connect, Lowe, CDC Bow, and CDC Fraser, were noticeably higher than those of CDC Copeland and AC Metcalfe.

The 2019 crop was challenged by wet harvest conditions, resulting in a high incidence of pre-harvest sprouting as indicated by relatively low RVA values (<50 RVU). The average moisture content of barley grain received in this survey was higher than usual. The majority of barley tested in this survey showed adequate germination energy (98%), but water sensitivity was higher than last year.

Generally, good quality malt was obtained from 2019 barley with adequate levels of enzymes (diastatic power and α-amylase), soluble proteins, and free amino nitrogen (FAN). Lower concentration of grain proteins in 2019 barley resulted in higher malt extract levels than the 2018 and 5-year average values.

Good quality malt can be produced from the 2019 barley crop through careful selection, timely malting, and application of appropriate processing conditions.

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