Quality of western Canadian malting barley 2013


The total barley production in Western Canada in 2013 was estimated at 8,894,000 tonnes, representing a substantial increase of about 18% compared to 2012. The increased barley production was associated with a record yield of 68.2 bushels per acre. Acreage seeded to barley in 2013 decreased by 5% from 2012 (Statistics Canada).

The growing season was characterized by normal amounts of rainfall in June and early July, followed by cooler and drier than normal conditions during the reproductive stage in late July and early August. Warm and dry harvest conditions were prevalent in the Peace River region and through northern Alberta and central Saskatchewan. Some areas in southern Alberta received higher than average amount of precipitation in September.

The 2013 barley harvest survey, conducted by the Grain Research Laboratory, was based on 76 composites of individual varieties representing 925,900 tonnes of barley selected in Western Canada for malting by the grain handling and malting companies.

Malting barley selected in 2013 was above average quality with protein levels lower than the 10-year average; thousand kernel weights, plumpness and kernel size were substantially higher than average values. This year's harvest resulted in malts with excellent quality. High plumpness, combined with low protein, resulted in very high levels of extract. Well modified malts were readily obtained, resulting in low wort β-glucan and good levels of soluble protein and free amino nitrogen. Enzyme levels of were close to the long term average.


Aaron L. MacLeod
Chemist, Malting Barley Research
Marta S. Izydorczyk
Program Manager, Milling and Malting/Research on Barley and Other Grains, Grain Research Laboratory
1404-303 Main Street
Winnipeg, Manitoba  R3C 3G8
Telephone: 204-983-2739 or
Toll-free 1-800-853-6705