Quality of barley selected for malting in 2014

Summary

Total barley production in Western Canada in 2014 was estimated at 6,700,000 tonnes, which represents a decrease of about 31% compared to 2013. This was largely attributed to loss of seeded acres due to flooding in Saskatchewan and Manitoba and due to lower production yields compared to last year.

The growing season was greatly affected by excess moisture continuing into fall, which resulted in a delayed harvest and downgrading of large portions of the crop affected by sprouting and weather damage. These growing conditions limited the quantity of barley selectable for malting purposes.

The 2014 barley harvest survey conducted by the Grain Research Laboratory was based on composites of individual varieties representing 793,550 tonnes of barley selected in Western Canada for malting by grain handling and malting companies.

Overall, malting barley selected in 2014 was of average quality. Thousand kernel weights and plumpness were close to long term averages. Protein levels were moderate, but higher than in 2013. Barley germination was adequate; however, some water sensitivity was present. RVA testing indicated high incidence of preharvest sprouting.

Malt made from 2014 barley resulted in average levels of extract, it showed good levels of protein modification, slightly elevated wort beta-glucan levels, and above average levels of enzyme activity promoting good brewing performance. Production of good quality malt was possible from 2014 barley through careful selection and timely malting with the application of appropriate processing conditions.