Canadian Grain Commission
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Measuring barley kernel colour and size to predict end use malt quality

Results and discussions - Grades and barley kernel colour

The 68 original barley samples that were malted (44 competition and 24 port composites) showed a reasonable range in quality with good representation in each of the three major Canadian Grain Commission malting grades, Special Select, Select and Standard Select (Table 1). Stained and green kernels were the major degrading factors observed. There was some concern that all the Special Select samples were competition samples with none of the port samples grading into the top grade, possibly due to blending. Competition samples did show significantly lower germinative index but also lower protein levels than port samples (data not shown). As a result, differences between Special Select and the other two grades had to be interpreted cautiously. Comparisons between Select and Standard Select were more legitimate with each having samples from both sources.

Table 1. Distribution of Canadian Grain Commission grades and barley source for the 68 samples analysed
CGC malting barley grades Special Select Select Standard Select
Competition samples 15 17 12
Port samples 0 11 13
Totals 15 28 25

There were no significant differences among the grades with respect to the barley parameters measured; kernel plumpness, barley protein, germination energy or germinative index (Table 2). However, the Special Select samples did, on average, show lower germinative indices, likely the result of the longer storage times for these samples. Percentage of plump kernels did tend higher, although not statistically significant, in the Special Select samples followed by Select and then Standard Select.