The prairie malting barley crop is faring reasonable well in the hot, dry weather, but crop watchers will have a better idea of protein content in a couple weeks.
“We’ve yet to see what this crop is. I think we’re a little early yet. Indications are that it could be a little higher protein, but we haven’t seen any samples,” said Kevin Sich, supply chain director for Rahr Malting Canada Ltd.
Maltsters prefer lower protein barley, while drier weather tends to produce higher protein crop.
Sich said he recalls similar conditions last year, but problems never materialized.
Southern areas down to Montana and up to Lethbridge have definitely seen difficult conditions, he said, and they are probably not going to have a full crop. But fields further north in Alberta are looking like they will have about average yields, which should mean average protein, he said.
In his local area around Alix in central Alberta, the barley should come in at about average.
“It’s probably not the crop of last year, but this crop has been hanging on great for the moisture it’s receiving. I think it’s all due to genetics and new seeding equipment and all that, that just keeps these crops going. I think that’s just kind of it in a nutshell.”
Sich drew comparisons to the drought of 2002 and said when he compares weather maps of then and now, the moisture levels between the two are not that different.
He said he expected to know more about the quality of this year’s malt barley crop around Sept. 1.