The US Brewers Association released their 2016 statistics at the end of March. The figures show 5,301 breweries were operating in the US in 2016, with 826 new brewery openings and 97 closings during the year. The breakdown includes 3,131 microbreweries, 1,916 brewpubs and 186 regional craft breweries together totaling 5,234 in the craft sector. The remaining 67 account for all other "large or other wise non-craft" breweries. Craft brewers produced 24.6 million barrels, up 6% year over year, and accounted for 12.3% of US beer sales volume in 2016. However, in terms of the dollars, the craft sector accounted for 21.9% of the US market.
The Canadian Grain Commission has released preliminary information on malting barley quality as well as seeded area and production on their web site as part of the annual Quality of Western Canadian Malting Barley report compiled by the Grain Research Laboratory (GRL) with contributions from the CMBTC. The information can be found here. Among the data of interest are year over year changes in seeded area by variety in Western Canada for 2016. There are a few notable developments, among them CDC Copeland occupied the highest seeded area at 44.7% this year, displacing AC Metcalfe after 14 years as the top seeded variety.
China’s barley imports totaled 7.6 million tonnes in 2015-16 (July/June) according to China customs data, down slightly from the record 8.3 mln T in 2014-15 but still an enormous program reflecting significant imports of feed barley as well as strong malting barley imports. France was the largest overall barley supplier at 3.2 mln T followed by Australia at 2.7 mln T and Canada at 947,560 T, constituting record barley imports from Canada into China last year. Feed barley purchases and resulting imports have dropped off since the beginning of 2016 as demonstrated by lower monthly imports since the beginning of the year. Between January and June barley imports into China totaled 2.2 mln T compared with 5.3 mln T in the first 6 months of the year.
Barley crops across Western Canada are generally in good condition. In Alberta there are some concerns over recent dryness in south and central regions however crops provincially are rated 79% in good or excellent condition compared to last year at 30% and the 5 year average of 73%. In Saskatchewan the majority of crops are in good to excellent condition and either ahead or at their normal stage of development. Almost all areas of the province reported rain over the past week, with many areas reporting more than 30 mm. In Manitoba warmer and drier weather conditions in late June were welcome after excessive precipitation during June. The more favourable weather conditions allowed some acres impacted by excess moisture to recover however continuing wet field conditions and symptoms of excess moisture continue to be noted across most regions.
Crop seeding is nearing completion across the Canadian Prairies. After very dry conditions through April and early May, subsequent rains provided much needed moisture, encouraging planting and now helping with germination and emergence. As of May 31st, seeding is now over 95% complete in both Alberta and Manitoba, a little ahead of average in both provinces. Seeding in Saskatchewan is around 90% complete which is well ahead of average. Continued rain is hampering final seeding in some areas however the precipitation has been a welcome change from the near record dry conditions experienced in April. Stats Can has projected a 4% increase in barley seeded area this year while Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada is forecasting production to rise 3% to 8.5 million tonnes in 2016.
Barley seeded area in Canada is projected to grow by 3.8% according to Statistics Canada’s March 2016 Principal field crop areas, based on a producer survey and released on April 21. Producers intend to seed 6.78 mln acres (2.74 mln ha) compared with 6.53 mln acres (2.64 mln ha) in 2015. This follows an 11% increase between 2014 and 2015. Using a trend yield of 65 bushel/acre (3.5 t/ha) would result in a crop of 8.65 mln tonnes, up from 8.23 mln T last year and 7.1 mln T in 2014. Strong prices for malting barley is a factor driving interest in seeding barley this year. And according the AAFC’s Outlook for Principal Field Crops released April 13, feed barley cash prices are higher than the average of recent years. With virtually no malting barley left available after two consecutive years poor harvest weather, Canada is hoping to replenish stocks this year to meet rising global demand for malting barley and malt.
Conditions across much of western Canada were extraordinarily dry during the spring and the first part of the summer of 2015. Higher than normal temperatures in April and dry conditions during April and May resulted in rapid planting progress.However the dryness and cooler temperatures during May slowed crop growth and development, and frost at the end of May damaged crops in the eastern Prairies.By the end of May large swathes of the Prairies, particularly in eastern Alberta and western Saskatchewan, had received less than 40% of average precipitation. Read More...