A reminder to farmers: check your bins!


 The difference between feed and malt can be $1.50/bushel or more!

With the challenging 2019 harvest behind us (at least for most) an important consideration for farmers with malting barley this winter will be properly storing and monitoring the grain to ensure quality does not deteriorate. Even barley that did not appear chitted at harvest is showing signs of pre-harvest sprouting when tested, and in some cases this is resulting in a loss in germination. If your barley has excess moisture levels (i.e. above 13.5%) and/or has not had a chance to cool down since harvest, it is at risk of heating, loss of germination and other issues such as mold and mildew.

Generally speaking, the industry standard for germination in malting barley is minimum 95%, and good storage conditions can help maintain malting barley vigour. Heating, mold and mildew can also lead to barley being rejected for selection as malt.

What to do?

  • Check your bin tops for moisture migration. A small bit of tough barley can ultimately spoil the whole bin if not addressed.
  • If your moisture level is above 13.5%, you should try to get the moisture down.
  • Run your aeration fans on cold days to freeze your bins. Cool and dry grain has greatly improved shelf life.
  • If air/heat is not possible in the bin, you may need to remove all or part of the grain from your bin to dry it, or at least cool it down before putting it back in the bin.


You can submit a sample to your local malting barley buyer to check the germination level of your barley.  Questions can also be directed to:


Jill McDonald, SaskBarley


Jeremy Boychyn, Alberta Barley



Peter Watts

Saskatchewan Crop Walk


Check out this video from the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture with Mitchell Japp, Provincial Specialist - Cereal Crops, and Matt Enns, barley farmer and maltster from Rosthern, discussing how to grow harvest great malting barley!

#SKcropwalk Harvest considerations- malt barley with Matt Enns from Makers Malt

Posted by Saskatchewan Agriculture on Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Made in Canada Tour


Join us July 24 & 25th for the Made in Canada malting barley tour in Alberta!

Made in Canada Tour Details

Custom tour for brewers and maltsters to view the newest Canadian malting barley varieties. During the tour, participants will have the opportunity to see plots and fields of new varieties such as AAC Connect, CDC Bow, Lowe, CDC Fraser, TR15155 and others alongside existing varieties such as AC Metcalfe, CDC Copeland and AAC Synergy.

Date: July 23 – 25, 2019

Location: Calgary, Alberta

Cost: Free (with the exception of travel and accommodations)




Canada's barley exports in the first 4 1/2 months of the year (Aug to mid Dec) reached 954,000 tonnes, ahead of last year's strong program at this time of 772,000 tonnes, and well ahead of the 5-year average of 519,000 tonnes.

Looking at StatCan export data, the big year over year difference on exports has occurred in sales to Japan at 57,400 tonnes in the first 3 months (3,059 tonnes last year at this time), as well as the Middle East (Kuwait and UAE) where 105,000 tonnes were shipped in October.  Sales to China, at 278,000 tonnes as of October, lag last year’s movement which was 399,000 in the first 3 months of the marketing year.

Looking at other exporters, as of their December estimate the USDA has Australia barley exports forecast at 5.4 mln tonnes (6.1 mln tonnes in 2017-18); Russia barley exports at 4.7 mln tonnes (5.8 mln tonnes in 2017-18); Ukraine barley exports at 4.5 mln tonnes (4.3 mln tonnes in 2017-18) and EU exports at 5.3 mln tonnes compared with 5.8 mln tonnes in 2017-18.


2018 malt barley quality…looking good


When the reports of snow fall in Alberta came during the first week of September, it was disheartening to say the least. In spite of a very dry summer, the malting barley crop in many key areas had fared well (with the exception of south western Saskatchewan and southern Alberta where drought had taken a severe toll).  The question on everyone's mind when we woke up and saw the pictures from Alberta was: how much had been harvested?  When the weekly provincial crop reports came out, they estimated that 35% of Alberta and 65% of Saskatchewan barley was harvested.  By that time, Manitoba was pretty much complete.  What we know now is that while a lot of malting barley was lost due to the rain and snow, the portion that was already in the bin turned out to be very good quality.  The 2018 selected malting barley crop in Western Canada can be characterized, on average, as having higher protein than the past two years, excellent germination, high RVA, limited disease and a clean, light appearance.  The barley is surprisingly plump given the dry season, and test weights are also very good.  Unfortunately we did lose a significant amount of potential malting barley to the rain and as a result, supplies will be considerably tighter than 2017.

Rains stall Prairie harvest


September 13 - After a dry, hot summer that took a toll on Prairie crops, farmers had begun to harvest what was still looking like a pretty good barley crop only to see the weather change in early September with rains stalling harvest in many parts of the Prairies. With about 50% of the barley harvest complete, and early reports of average to above average quality and yields, although higher protein levels, the balance of the harvest is likely to see a lot of malting barley downgraded as a result of the wet weather.  As a result it will be several weeks before the industry has a good handle on this year's supplies of malting barley and the quality profile. One bit of good news is that it looks like DON will not be a major issue this year, perhaps a result of the dry conditions.  Looking forward, the short term weather outlook is bleak but there may be some drier, sunny weather on the way next week that will allow farmers to get back into the fields and advance the harvest. There is still a long ways to go in many areas, particularly in the western and northern regions of the Prairies.

2018 Seeding Update


CANADA: Typically at this time of year we would be reporting the percentage of acres seeded, especially in southern Alberta. But that is not the case as Spring has been elusive and cold temperatures persisted into much of April. Finally the weather has changed over the Prairies in the last week bringing with it much anticipated warm dry air. 

The warmer temperatures are been embraced by the Prairies with day time temperatures above seasonal averages. This warm weather, accompanied by windy conditions, have quickly melted the snow packed conditions in Alberta and  Saskatchewan. 

Southern Alberta will have some seeding activity commencing by this weekend, the remainder of the province will be 1-2 weeks later getting into the fields. Saskatchewan is dry in the south and may begin seeding by next week. In the northern tier, the ground is still frozen and it will take a minimum 2-3 weeks before farmers start seeding. In Manitoba, the ground has been void of snow for some time is thawing quickly. The Red River Valley will have some farmers seeding by this weekend. 

UNITED STATES: The spring season across the northern half of the US has been one of the coldest on record. Although the day time temperatures are in a warming trend, the ground is still frozen and it will be at least a week before farmers can begin seeding in North Dakota.  Barley seeding in Idaho is over 80% complete in the eastern and southern parts of the state. Southern Montana is just starting to seed their barley crop. The northern section, closer to Conrad, have the majority of the acres under water and will be a minimum two weeks before seeding begins. The quick snow melt left much surface flooding and the water has nowhere to go. Some of the land will not get seeded due to the excess water.

2017 Harvest Update


September 22: Harvest of spring cereal crops is advancing ahead of normal this year, with barley almost entirely off in Manitoba, 85% complete in Saskatchewan (5-yr average ~70%) and 70% in Alberta (5-yr average ~60%).  Barley yields appear to be on trend this year at around 63 bushels/acre, although this is lower than anecdotal reports would suggest, and is well below the  record 73.4 bu/acre average of 2016.  Protein content in early samples received by the CMBTC have ranged from 10.3-11.9%.  Test weight and plumpness of the barley have been good with generally lighter colour than the past two years.  Overall quality is looking is looking positive for the 2017 Canadian malting barley crop.   Stats Canada estimated all Canada 2017 barley production at 7.2 mln tonnes in their August 31 report compared with 8.8 mln tonnes last year, a drop of 18%.



As of June 7th its a tale of two stories on the Prairies: too wet in some areas to finish seeding; too dry in other areas slowing crop development and generating talk of drought conditions.  Barley seeding is now around 85% complete in W. Canada with some central  areas of Saskatchewan and Alberta still struggling with too much moisture to complete sowing.  Producers who have not been able to seed their other crops may switch to barley or oats which have a shorter growing season.  The story is different in southerns part of the Prairies that have received about half of normal rainfall over the past month. Combined with high winds in some areas which has exacerbated dryness and pummeled emerging crops, development is now some 10 days behind normal in parts of south western Manitoba and southern Saskatchewan.  These areas will need rain in the next week or two to accelerate growth and prevent crop damage.



Seeding across the Prairies has advanced rapidly in the past two weeks after a very slow start.  However while southern Saskatchewan and Alberta have virtually completed seeding, further north the story is very different with continued wet conditions limiting field work. In southern Alberta barley seeding was 87% complete as of May 23rd, but only 16% complete in the north east.  Overall cereals were 57% seeded in Alberta as of May 23 compared with the 5 year average of 83%.  The situation in similar in Saskatchewan where cereal seeding was 80% complete in the southwest as of May 22 but only 25% in the northeast.  The majority of crops are either at or behind normal developmental stages for this time of year.  Seeding is almost finished in Manitoba with about 90% of cultivated acres seeded with many growers are already done.