Quality of western Canadian malting barley 2015

Growing and harvesting conditions

The soil moisture situation during the fall of 2014 was mixed in the main barley growing areas of Western Canada as excellent subsoil moisture supplies in central and eastern Saskatchewan were counterbalanced by dry conditions in Alberta. Snowfall during the winter was above normal in the northern growing areas, but southern regions were mostly dry. Warmer than normal temperatures and dry conditions during April and May resulted in rapid planting progress. These dry conditions and early seeding activities were a stark contrast to a wet spring and late seeding that occurred in 2014. Nearly half of the barley was planted by May 15th and most of the crop was planted by the end of May. A severe frost in the northern growing areas of the Prairies caused damage to emerged barley plants and some areas needed to reseed a portion of their planted area.

The dry, hot weather continued through the month of June and the first half of July in the western Prairies, which caused stress to barley crops in western Saskatchewan and Alberta. The hot and dry weather that prevailed through the first half of the growing season helped crops to develop, but also contributed to higher protein levels. The hot and dry conditions resulted in considerable crop stress and loss of yield in Alberta and western Saskatchewan. Conversely, eastern growing areas of Saskatchewan and Manitoba received timely rainfall and had minimal stress. These regions reported average to above average yields, although protein levels were still above last year.

Harvest started relatively early due to early seeding and hot growing conditions and approximately 40% of the barley crop was harvested by the end of August. Rainfall during late August and September in the central and northern barley growing areas slowed harvest and affected the quality of remaining barley harvest. Harvest progressed slowly during September and October and finally reached completion during the first week of November. The quality of the barley harvest in October was severely compromised by the wet weather conditions.

Mean temperature difference from normal for April 2015

Map - Temperature difference from normal in Prairies, April 2015. Described below.

Map compiled using the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Map Archive.


Map representing the Prairie Provinces showing mean temperature difference from normal across Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba during the month of April 2015.

Percent of monthly average precipitation received April 26 to May 25, 2015

Map - Monthly average precipitation in Prairies, April/May 2015. Described below.

Map compiled using the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Map Archive.


Map representing the Prairie Provinces showing percent of monthly average precipitation received across the growing regions of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba April 26 to May 25, 2015.

Percent of monthly average precipitation received in August 9 to September 7, 2015

Map - Monthly average precipitation in Prairies, Aug./Sept. 2015. Described below.

Map compiled using the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Map Archive.


Map representing the Prairie Provinces showing percent of monthly average precipitation received across the growing regions of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba August 9 to September 7, 2015.