New varieties, such as AAC Synergy, CDC Bow and AAC Connect, provide farmers with a 10 to 15 percent yield bump over Metcalfe as well as improved protection from diseases, according to Peter Watts, the managing director of the Canadian Malting Barley Technical Centre. | File photo

End of an era: AC Metcalfe loses its grip

The malting barley industry is at a crossroads, says the managing director of the Canadian Malting Barley Technical Centre. AC Metcalfe is releasing its stranglehold on acres, making room for a collection of up-and-coming, higher-yielding new varieties, said Peter Watts. Western Canadian farmers planted 652,398 acres of Metcalfe in 2019, representing 24 percent of total […] Read more

Farmers’ attitudes and realities evolve over a quarter-century

(And so does the observer)

Farmers sure have changed in the past 25 years. Or have I changed in the quarter-century I’ve been covering farmers and farming for The Western Producer? Do the same things just look different to my older, more experienced and physically degraded eyes? It’s probably a bit of both, but looking back over these 25 years […] Read more

The quality of Canada's 2019/20 barley crop remains to be seen, as cool and wet harvest conditions across much of the Prairies are raising concerns over how much will meet malt specifications. | File photo

Malt barley quality a question as Canadian harvest drags on

Winnipeg, (MarketsFarm) – The quality of Canada’s 2019/20 barley crop remains to be seen, as cool and wet harvest conditions across much of the Prairies are raising concerns over how much will meet malt specifications. “We’ll lose a lot of malting barley this year, because of the weather,” said Peter Watts, managing director of the […] Read more


Barley is Canada’s fourth largest crop, but in 2017 production was less than eight million tonnes compared to the 2013 harvest of 10.2 million tonnes. It has been in decline for almost two decades. 
| File photo

Barley suffers ‘dramatic decline’

BANFF, Alta. — Better yielding and higher paying crops like canola, wheat, oats and durum have displaced barley. “Farmers are businessmen and they are going to grow crops that have the greatest rate of return. The return on barley is lower than other crops,” David Simbo, research manager for Alberta Barley, said during the commission’s […] Read more

Chinese maltsters are importing barley from Canada but Australia’s crop, although small, is coming on the market so exports may start to slow down.  |  File photo

China snapping up barley exports

Bulk barley exports are more than double last year’s pace de-spite a smaller overall crop. Canadian exporters shipped out 542,000 tonnes of the crop through Week 15 of the 2017-18 crop year, compared to 240,000 tonnes the same time last year. That is a 126 percent increase despite a drop in total supply of the […] Read more


The abundance of quality crop is pressuring prices lower. | File photo

Excellent quality sends malting barley price down

Ample supplies of malt barley have led to soft prices and the only hope for turning things around hinges on a poor Australian harvest. Rod Green, a barley broker with Central Ag Marketing Ltd. in Airdrie, Alta., said the condition of Canada’s crop couldn’t be more different compared to last year, when there were a […] Read more

The Canadian Malting Barley Technical Centre in Winnipeg has reached a new funding agreement that will provide stable, long-term support for operations that benefit Canada's malting barley value chain. | File photo

Farmer checkoff to support malt barley research

The Canadian Malting Barley Technical Centre in Winnipeg has reached a new funding agreement that will provide stable, long-term support for operations that benefit Canada’s malting barley value chain. The centre announced Sept 6 that it will continue to receive funding from Alberta Barley, the Manitoba Wheat & Barley Growers Association and the Saskatchewan Barley […] Read more

It's fine to hit malting barley with glyphosate, at least theoretically.
But the challenge of doing it in the field in true farming conditions was highlighted by long-time barley researcher John O'Donovan at the Canadian Barley Symposium. | File photo

Researcher weighs risks of glyphosate for malt barley dry-down

It’s fine to hit malting barley with glyphosate, at least theoretically. But the challenge of doing it in the field in true farming conditions was highlighted by long-time barley researcher John O’Donovan at the Canadian Barley Symposium. “If the farmer does everything right — correct stage, uniform dry-down is achieved — the residue levels will […] Read more


Higher disposable incomes among Chinese have increased appetites for quality beer, sparking demand for high quality Canadian malt barley.  |  Reuters photo

Feed barley down, malt demand up

REGINA — Canadian barley production has dropped 35 percent over the past 10 years as livestock operators switched to feed wheat, distillers dried grain and corn. Canada’s barley exports have suffered from robust international competition. For instance, Japan used to import 300,000 tonnes of Canadian feed barley a year, but now is willing to buy […] Read more

The craft brewing industry buys 25 to 30 percent of the malt sold in North America. | Getty images

Craft brewers spark new markets, new challenges for breeders

Barley breeders at the University of Saskatchewan are hoping to develop a long-term relationship with a new player in the North American brewing industry — the craft brewer. Aaron Beattie, head of oat and barley breeding at the university’s Crop Development Centre, said North American craft brewers represent a significant opportunity for barley breeders and […] Read more