December 6, 2017

Global barley production in 2017 is estimated by the USDA at 141.7 million tonnes (mt), down from 147.1 mt in 2016.  Output is lower in Australia (8.0 mt  compared with 13.4 mt in 2016), Canada (7.3 vs 8.8), the US (3.1 vs 4.4) and Argentina (2.8 vs 3.3).  Production is up 3 mt in Russia year over year to a record 20.5 mt.

Australia – The Australian barley crop is estimated at 8.0 mt, down from 13.4 mt last year, a 40% drop as yields fell from record levels in 2016 to below average this year. Rainfall during harvest this year, particularly in eastern Australia, slowed harvest and impacted quality reducing the amount of Malt 1 available.  As of the end of November, the harvest was estimated to be 1/3 complete in Victoria compared with over 50% complete in Western Australia.

In the EU malting barley supplies are up considerably year over year given the major improvement in the French crop.  However quality problems in eastern Europe and in Germany have limited the French export surplus.

The U.S. harvested its smallest barley crop on record at 3.1 mt, compared with 4.3 mt last year, a 29% drop, and 4.75 mt in 2015.  Large supplies of malting barley left over from a bumper, high quality harvest in 2016 led to fewer contracts by maltsters and brewers in the U.S. this year.

Western Canada, harvested its best malting barley crop since 2013 with selection rates running 65-70%, although strong feed prices are keeping the spread narrow with good quality malting barley moving into the feed sector in some areas.  Protein content in the 2017 crop is slightly below trend averaging around 11.5%, lower than expected given the dry start and finish this season.   See the Canadian Grain Commission’s Quality of Western Canadian Malting Barley report released December 4th.

The percentage breakdown of area of the 3 major varieties as follows (last year in brackets): CDC Copeland 49% (44.7%); AC Metcalfe 32% (34.2%); AAC Synergy 7.5% (5%).