Barley Harvest Annual Report 2021

Summary of Barley Production and Quality of Western Canadian Malting Barley

Prepared by Marta S. Izydorczyk, Ph.D. and Tricia McMillan, M.Sc.

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Barley Harvest Annual Report 2021

The total area planted with barley in western Canada in 2021 was 3.257 million hectares. This is 10% higher than last year and 25% higher than the 10-year average. The total barley production in western Canada in 2021, however, is estimated at only 6,602,000 tonnes. This is approximately 37% lower than last year. The 2021 crop year was plagued by a severe drought and the lack of moisture contributed to extremely low yields, with an average yield of 42.2 bushels per acre (BPA) compared to 71.8 BPA in 2020.

CDC Copeland (34.7%) and AAC Synergy (28.1%) predominated the malting barley cultivars planted in western Canada in 2021. The area seeded with AC Metcalfe in 2021 was only 11.1%. The area planted with AAC Connect increased to 8.6% in 2021 from 5.2% in 2020. The area planted with other recently registered two-rowed cultivars, Sirish (4.8%), CDC Fraser (3.3%), CDC Bow (2.7%), and CDC Copper (0.9%), accounted for approximately 11.7% of total area seeded with malting barley varieties in western Canada.

Dry and hot growing conditions in 2021 contributed to much higher levels of protein in barley grain than normally observed. The average level of barley proteins (13.2%) in 2021 was considerably higher than last year (11.8%). This year’s barley exhibited an excellent average germination energy (98%), however, equal to the 10-year average. It also showed very little water sensitivity. This year’s average 1000 kernel weight (45.3 g) was only slightly lower than last year’s (45.5 g) and was higher than the 10-year average (45.2 g). The newer varieties with kernels larger than AC Metcalfe and CDC Copeland, contributed to the overall high average kernel weight. The average plumpness of this year’s barley (96.1%) was higher than last year’s (92.4%) and higher than the 10-year average (93.0%). The test weight, however, was lower (64.8 kg/hL) than the 10-year average (67 kg/hL).

Pre-harvest sprouting in 2021 barley was highly variable due to the incidence of rain in certain parts of the prairies in mid and late August. Processing of barley in a Phoenix Micromalting System indicated that this year’s barley easily absorbed water during steeping. High water uptake during steeping resulted in adequate cell wall modification and a low concentration of β-glucans in wort as well as low wort viscosity. A higher concentration of grain protein in 2021 barley contributed to about 2% lower malt extract levels than in previous years but also contributed to high levels of malt enzymes (especially diastatic power) and free amino nitrogen (FAN) making this year’s barley suitable for adjunct brewing.

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