Canadian Grain Commission
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Prediction of germination energy of malting barley during long-time storage



Sample collection and analysis

Barley samples used in this study were collected over two consecutive years, 2002 and 2003. All samples were selected for malting and exhibited germination energy ≥ 95%. In 2002, 306 samples were collected. Among the 2-row varieties, the greatest number of samples was collected for Metcalfe (107), followed by Harrington (32), Stratus (29), and Stein (23). Among the 6-row varieties, the greatest number of samples was collected for B1602 (56), followed by Robust (21). In 2003, 519 samples were collected. Among the 2- row varieties, the greatest number of samples was collected for Metcalfe (148), followed by Harrington (88), Stratus (65), Kendall (55), and Merit (18). Among the 6-row varieties, the greatest number of samples was collected for Robust (52), Excel (41), and Legacy (27).

Over the two-year period, barley samples were collected from the following crop districts of Western Canada:

  • Alberta: 2, 3, 4, 5, 7
  • Saskatchewan: 1B, 2A, 2B, 3AS, 4B, 5A, 5B, 6A, 6B, 7A, 7B, 8A, 8B, 9A
  • Manitoba: 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 8

Significantly more samples were pre-germinated in 2002 than in 2003, which can be directly related to differences in the average precipitation during those two years. In general, the average precipitation in 2002 was above normal, whereas in 2003 it was below normal.

In 2002, the year with a very high average precipitation, Harrington exhibited a smaller percentage of pre-germinated samples (75%) than three other 2-row varieties tested in the study (91%). In 2003, the year with a very low average precipitation, Harrington again exhibited lower tendency for pre-germination (9%) than four other varieties tested in the study (16%). In both years, the 6-row varieties showed slightly lower percentage of pre-germinated samples (79% in 2002 and 12.5% in 2003) than the 2-row varieties (87% in 2002 and 15.5% in 2003). It has to be noted, however, that in both years a smaller number of 6-row samples (77 in 2002 and 120 in 2003) than 2-row samples (164 in 2002 and 374 in 2003) were tested.

These studies have shown that barley samples grown in the northern regions of Alberta (crop district 7), Saskatchewan (crop districts 5B, 8A, 9A), and Manitoba (crop district 3) exhibited a greater tendency for pre-germination than samples grown in other districts. The amount of precipitation could not fully explain these results, as in some cases the amount of actual precipitation was lower than the normal average for the respective districts or lower than in other districts. The later harvest dates (and/or higher harvest moisture) could be partially responsible for the observed results.