As of September 4, the barley harvest in Western Canada is approximately 50 per cent complete. Yields are proving better than expected while quality is wide ranging, particularly with respect to protein levels—some chatting is evident.
Early quality indications tended to be poor, however more recently harvested samples have shown better quality creating promise for a reasonable supply of selectable malting barley from the 2015 harvest in Canada.
A healthy premium for malting barley over feed is likely encouraging producers to harvest their barley when it’s ready to help ensure malting grade.
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) is projecting an 8 per cent increase in harvested barley area in Canada this year to 5.7 million acres, however a projected 5 per cent decline in yields to 58.8 bushels per acre means overall production is only forecast to rise 3 per cent to 7.3 million tonnes from 7.1 million tonnes in 2014.
The more recent indications of higher yields will likely mean a higher final production figure. While overall barley output may not increase significantly this year, indications are that quality will be substantially better than last year’s extraordinarily poor quality crop increasing the potential pool of malting barley.
In the US, the harvest is nearing completion with generally good quality being reported and a boost in supplies of malting barley over last year’s disastrous crop. In the European Union, the world’s largest malting barley producing region, the German spring and winter harvests are essentially done with high yields, but low protein.
The French harvest is complete showing good quality and protein generally in the 9.5-10.5 per cent range with a similar situation in the Czech Republic albeit higher protein levels (~11%). In the UK they are harvesting a large crop with the winter barley harvest nearly complete and the spring barley is now about 25 per cent harvested.
Denmark’s spring barley harvest is 85 per cent complete but rain has delayed its completion with the balance of the harvest likely to suffer damage from precipitation.
Information update provided by, Peter Watts, Managing Director of the Canadian Malting Barley Technical Centre (CMBTC).