Barley Harvest Annual Report 2022
Annual harvest survey of malting barley
- Sampling and survey methodology
- Quality of barley selected for malting in 2022: general trends
- Comparison of physicochemical parameters in individual barley varieties
- Pre-harvest sprouting
- Malting conditions and methodologies
- Malting quality in 2022: varietal and yearly comparisons
- Highlights of malting barley quality in 2022
Sampling and survey methodology
The 2022 malting barley survey is based on varietal composites that represent about 1,795,000 tonnes of malting barley selected for domestic processing or for export. The grain handling and malting companies involved in the selection process were Cargill Ltd., Canada Malting Co. Ltd., Boortmalt, Rahr Malting Canada Ltd., Richardson International Ltd., Viterra Inc., and Malteurop Canada Ltd. The tonnage included in this survey represents only a portion of the total volume of malting barley selected in western Canada. Some samples included in this report came from the Canadian Grain Commission’s Harvest Sample Program. Samples were received from the beginning of harvest until November 15, 2022.
Quality of barley selected for malting in 2022: general trends
In 2022, the average protein content in malting barley was 12.3%. This is significantly lower than last year (13.2%) and slightly higher than the 10-year average (11.8%) (Figure 3.1). The average test weight was 66.7 kg/hL, which is higher than last year (64.8 kg/hL), and equal to the 10-year average (66.7 kg/hL) (Figure 3.2). The average 1000 kernel weight was 45.0 g, which is close to the 10-year average (45.3 g) (Figure 3.3). Kernel plumpness, measured by counting the number of kernels remaining on a 6/64” slotted screen, had an average value of 93.8%. This is lower than last year (96.1%) and close to the 10-year average (93.3%) (Figure 3.4). 2022 barley exhibited excellent average germination energy at 4 mL (99%) (Figure 3.5). In 2022, the average germination energy at 8 mL was 92%, which indicates very little water sensitivity (Fig. 3.6). The results presented in Figures 3.1 to 3.6 represent weighted averages based on the tonnage of composite samples received and analysed.
Comparison of physicochemical parameters in individual barley varieties
Kernel hardness was determined for individual varieties using a single kernel characterization system. The results indicated some differences among barley varieties (Figure 3.7). The length of kernels of different malting varieties is shown in Figure 3.8. AAC Connect was characterized by longer kernels compared to other varieties. The content of β-glucans in selected malting varieties grown in western Canada in 2022 is shown in Figure 3.9. Among the two-row varieties, CDC Copeland exhibited the lowest β-glucan content and AC Metcalfe the highest. The content of arabinoxylans in selected malting varieties grown in western Canada is shown in Figure 3.10. The yearly variations in 1000 kernel weight and grain protein level for several established and new malting barley varieties are presented in Figure 3.11 and Figure 3.12, respectively. The 1000 kernel weight of CDC Copper, CDC Copeland, CDC Churchill, and AC Metcalfe was slightly lower than last year. The kernel weight of AAC Connect, CDC Fraser, CDC Bow and AAC Synergy was high and similar to values observed last year. All varieties show substantially lower protein content in 2022 compared to last year.
Pre-harvest sprouting can occur when mature grain remains unharvested in the field during prolonged periods of wet weather. One of the enzymes produced very early during germination is α-amylase. Since the level of α-amylase in sound grain is very low compared to that in germinating grain, the content of α-amylase in grain can be used as a marker of germination. Rapid visco analysis (RVA) indirectly estimates the amount of α-amylase in barley by measuring the viscosity of ground barley in water. The viscosity results are expressed in Rapid Visco Units (RVU) which then can be converted to centipoise (cP) (1 RVU = 12 cP).
Barley selectors use RVA to identify sound, moderately and strongly pre-germinated barley, and to manage their supply accordingly. Samples with final viscosity values greater than 120 RVU are considered sound, and the probability that they will retain germination energy after storage is very high. Samples with RVA values of 50 to 120 RVU are moderately pre-germinated while samples with RVA values less than 50 RVU are substantially pre-germinated and have a high probability of losing germination energy during storage. They should be malted as soon as possible. To more accurately predict safe storage time, storage conditions (temperature and relative humidity) and the initial moisture content of the grain must be considered in addition to the RVA values.
The majority of barley grown in 2022 was generally very sound with average RVA values above 120 RVU. In certain areas of Saskatchewan, above average precipitation in August contributed to some pre-harvest sprouting. However, generally warm and dry harvest conditions on the prairies resulted in sound grain with high RVA values. (Figure 3.13).
Malting conditions and methodologies
Initial malting trials indicated that during steeping, barley from 2022 did not absorb water as easily as last year’s barley. Several factors contributed to somewhat slower water absorption, including higher test weight, higher kernel density, and a greater degree of soundness. Consequently, the second wet steeping cycle was increased from 7 hours in 2021 to 9 hours in 2022. In addition, samples of barley varieties with large kernel size and weight were sprayed with water during germination to achieve adequate hydration levels and modification. Similar to last year, the steeping temperature was 14 ºC and the entire germination process (96 hours) was conducted at 15 ºC. The kilning steps were conducted according to the same schedules as last year. All the analytical methods used to assess barley, malt and wort quality in this survey are listed in Malting barley methods used to measure quality.
|First wet cycle||9 hours||9 hours|
|First dry cycle||14 hours||14 hours|
|Second wet cycle||7 hours||9 hours|
|Second dry cycle||14 hours||14 hours|
|Temperature||14 °C||14 °C|
|Germination||96 hours at 15 °C||96 hours at 15 °C|
|Kilning||12 hours at 60-65°C, 6 hours at 65°C, 2 hours at 75 °C, 5 hours at 83-85 °C, 2 hours at 60 °C, 2 hours at 40 °C||12 hours at 60-65°C, 6 hours at 65°C, 2 hours at 75 °C, 5 hours at 83-85 °C, 2 hours at 60 °C, 2 hours at 40 °C|
Malting quality in 2022: varietal and yearly comparisons
Figures 3.14 to 3.19 compare the average values of malt proteins, fine extract, malt diastatic power, malt α-amylase, wort free amino nitrogen (FAN), and wort β-glucans among varieties annually evaluated in our survey since 2017. Values shown in the graphs represent the arithmetic averages. This year, we received a limited number of CDC Copper samples, and as a result, this variety is not included in our varietal comparison.
Highlights of malting barley quality in 2022
- The favourable growing conditions across the prairie provinces in 2022 significantly improved barley production and yield, and restocked the supply of Canadian malting barley for both the domestic and international markets.
- In 2022, CDC Copeland and AAC Synergy were the predominant cultivars of malting barley in western Canada, but the area seeded with CDC Copeland continued to decline. The popularity of newer varieties (AAC Connect, CDC Fraser, and CDC Churchill) increased noticeably whereas the area seeded with AC Metcalfe continued to decline.
- The favourable growing conditions had positive effects on the quality of malting barley. The average level of barley proteins was 12.3% in 2022, which is considerably lower than in 2021 (13.2%).
- Barley in 2022 exhibited an excellent average germination energy of 99% with no water sensitivity.
- The average 1000 kernel weight in 2022 was 45.0 g, which is close to the 10-year average (45.3 g). The newer varieties with kernels larger than AC Metcalfe and CDC Copeland contributed to the overall high average kernel weight.
- In 2022, the average test weight of barley was 66.7 kg/hL, which is higher than in 2021 (64.8 kg/hL) and equal to the 10-year average. The average plumpness was 93.8%, which is lower than in 2021 (96.1%) but higher than the 10-year average (93.3%).
- The majority of barley grown in 2022 was generally very sound with average RVA values above 120 RVU.
- The combination of higher test weight and lower plumpness values in 2022 barley resulted in higher grain density, which required a slightly longer steeping time to achieve adequate modification of barley during the malting process.
- Well-modified malt was obtained from 2022 barley with adequate levels of enzymes (diastatic power and α-amylase), soluble proteins, and free amino nitrogen (FAN).
- A lower concentration of grain protein in 2022 barley contributed to about 1.5% higher malt extract levels compared to 2021.
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