Quality of western Canadian malting barley 2013
Annual harvest survey
GRL sampling and survey methodology
The Canadian Grain Commission conducts an annual survey to determine the quality of malting barley grown in the three Prairie Provinces. The data generated for this report were based on the analysis of representative varietal composite samples selected for malting purposes. The 2013 malting barley survey was based on 76 varietal composites representing 925,900 tonnes of barley which had been selected for domestic malt processing or for export as malting barley by Cargill Inc., Canada Malting Co. Ltd., Parrish and Heimbecker Co. Ltd., Malteurop, Rahr Malting Co. Ltd., Richardson International, and Viterra Inc. The tonnage included in this survey represent only a portion of the total volume of malting barley selected in Western Canada through the end of October, and does not necessarily reflect the actual amounts selected. Samples were received from the beginning of harvest until the 26th of October.
Malting conditions and methodologies
Favourable growing conditions across most of the Prairies resulted in barley with lower protein levels and larger, heavier kernels. Excellent germination energies, with little evidence of water sensitivity supported the use of a standard micro-malting schedule with two wet steep cycles, as was used in 2012. The use of the same schedule facilitates year-to-year comparisons. All analytical methods used in this survey to assess the barley, malt and wort quality are listed in the Appendix I.
|Steeping||10 h wet steep, 18 h air rest, 8 h wet steep, 12 h air rest @ 13°C|
|Germination||96 h @ 15°C|
|Kilning||12h @ 60°C, 6h@ 65°C, 2h @ 75°C, 4h @ 85°C|
Malting quality in 2013 - Highlights
This year’s harvest resulted in malts with excellent quality:
- High plumpness combined with low protein resulted in very high levels of malt extract. Generally, the malt extract for the most common malting barley cultivars was higher by about 1.2% compared to the 5-year average values.
- Well modified malts were readily obtained resulting in low wort β-glucan and good levels of soluble protein and free amino nitrogen. Enzyme levels (diastatic power and α-amylase) in malts were adequate and close to the long term average.
- Despite their large size, kernels took up water easily, and modified rapidly. Good water uptake and adequate steep-out moisture during malting could be associated with somewhat softer endosperm as indicated by relatively low hardness index values in barley.
- Slightly higher than average malt losses, as indicated by lower than normal malt yields, suggest that the malts produced in this study were somewhat over-modified.
Quality of barley selected for malting in 2013: general trends and annual statistics
Average protein content in barley selected for malting from 2004-2013
Malting barley selected in 2013 was of above average quality. Protein levels were the lowest seen over the last 10 years.
Thousand kernel weights of barley selected for malting from 2004-2013
Thousand kernel weights were above long term averages and correlated positively with large diameters of barley kernels. Large kernels with low protein content are generally associated with increased levels of starch and therefore greater potential for high extract. However, excessively large kernels could have an impact on malt quality, particularly on the rate of water hydration and modification during malting.
Plumpness of barley selected for malting from 2004-2013
Kernel plumpness was above long term averages and correlated positively with large diameters of barley kernels. Large kernels with low protein content are generally associated with increased levels of starch and therefore greater potential for high extract. However, excessively large kernels could have an impact on malt quality, particularly on the rate of water hydration and modification during malting.
Average kernel diameter of barley varieties selected for malting in 2013
Kernel plumpness were above long term averages and correlated positively with large diameters of barley kernels. Large kernels with low protein content are generally associated with increased levels of starch and therefore greater potential for high extract. However, excessively large kernels could have an impact on malt quality, particularly on the rate of water hydration and modification during malting.
Average hardness index of barley varieties selected for malting in 2013
Another unusual characteristic of barley grain this year was relatively low grain hardness. Grain hardness is not routinely measured when evaluating barley grain quality. High grain protein and β-glucan levels are usually positively correlated with high grain hardness indices, whereas malt extract and endosperm modification are usually negatively correlated with grain hardness. This year’s barley was softer, which can facilitate water uptake during steeping.
RVA results for barley selected for malting in three Western Canada provinces in 2013
Rapid visco analysis is used by barley selectors to identify sound, moderately and strongly pre-germinated barley, and manage their supply accordingly. This year’s RVA results have reflected generally favorable harvest conditions with only localized areas experiencing above average precipitation. Figure 3.6 shows the distribution of RVA data by province. Among the total of 76 barley samples analyzed this year, 52% of the samples showed very high RVA values, ranging from 120 to 170 RVU (rapid visco units), and indicating a high degree of soundness and a high probability of retaining germination energy during a long-term storage. Nearly a quarter (23%) of the samples exhibited moderate pre-germination (50-110 RVU) and, therefore, good potential for storability provided proper cool and dry storage conditions. Slightly more than a quarter (26%) of the samples showed the RVA values lower than 50 RVU, primarily coming from Alberta, stressing the need for identification of barley that should be malted promptly unless stored in cold and dry conditions for a short period.
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