After a difficult harvest in 2019, the CMBTC has an number of recommendations for farmers planning to grow malting barley in 2020:
Buy certified seed to improve your chances of achieving malt: Certified seed will generally reduce incidence of disease, and increase evenness of germination and crop uniformity. Varietal purity is also important for selection.
Using on farm seed: If you plan to use on farm seed, get it tested. Verify the germination, it should be minimum 85%, some seed may have lost it's vigor.
Soil Health: Excessive wet conditions last fall may have caused leeching of fertilizer and other chemicals, its important to get fields tested.
Consider your crop rotation - barley should not be seeded on cereal ground.
Reminder re: Storage of 2019 Crop
A large tonnage of 2019 barley was harvested wet and there was quite a lot of barley stored in bags. With wide temperatures swings this winter, farmers should be diligent in monitoring and testing the barley in bins and in bags. While malting barley may still be in condition, a lot of barley suffered pre-harvest germination and is unlikely to maintain its vigour into hot summer months. As a result, farmers with malting barley should look at marketing it prior to warming temperatures.