2020 Malting Barley Harvest Quality Update
The barley harvest has all but wrapped up, and this year’s malt barley crop in western Canada will rate as one of the better quality crops in the last ten years with excellent plump kernels, high test weight and protein levels in the 11-13.5% range with a low incidence of DON and limited issues with pre-harvest sprouting. Southern Alberta produced their first large quality barley crop after three years of drought. Saskatchewan had a high quality crop this year with most regions producing above average yields. There were several exceptions, including northern growing areas of Alberta and northwestern Saskatchewan that saw cool and wet weather for much of the growing season, reducing yields and all but wiping out any chance for malting barley selection. On the other extreme, some parts of southern Saskatchewan and Alberta were much too dry resulting in thin, high protein kernels.
Crop size for all Canada will likely end up close to 11 million tonnes, although earlier in the summer many had anticipated even larger barley production. There were few factors that ultimately reduced output, one was the hail storms that pummelled numerous barley fields in July, as well as many acres that were drowned out due to excessive wet conditions, primarily in northern regions of Alberta.
Overall the barley yields were above average for many farmers with yields often in the 80 to 90 bushels per acre range(4.3-4.8 tonnes per hectare). The malt barley selection rate is high with over three million tonnes of available malt barley of which over 50% is CDC Copeland, approximately 20% AC Metcalfe and 25% AAC Synergy. The domestic maltsters will require around one million tonnes of malt barley this crop year that will leave some 2 million tonnes of malt barley for the export market.
2020 Malting Barley Overview
- Protein: On average protein content is ~0.5% higher than 2019. Results to date suggest the following average protein levels from 2020 malting barley varieties:
- CDC Copeland – 11.8%
- AC Metcalfe – 12.2%
- AAC Synergy – 11.5%
- Germination: Virtually all germination tests to date have yielded above 95%, with an average of germination energy results of ~98%.
- Test weight: Good test weights this year, averaging 65-70 kg/hl .
- Plump: Plumps generally >90%
- RVA: Overall the majority of results in selected 2020 samples of malting barley have had RVA values of >100, however as select regions received moisture prior to harvest, there have been some samples with evidence of pre-harvest sprouting, particularly in certain varieties (e.g. AC Metcalfe).
- Yields: Overall yields were high in 2020 with many malting barley fields achieving 80-90 bushels per acre in areas that received sufficient, but not excessive, moisture.
- Pre-germination: While some regions experienced rains prior to harvest, less than 10% of samples are showing pre-germination. Those samples that do show chitting are generally on the low end of the range (0.5-1.0% chit).
- Disease: No major issues with disease this year, although some regions reported limited presence of FHB. In samples where DON has been detected, levels have generally been below 0.5 ppm.