Alberta malt barley quality looking good

CNS Canada — Despite a wet spring and problems with dryness in the summer, barley in central Alberta is looking fairly good, according to a grower in the Red Deer area.

“We had a really good malt crop this year, the quality is excellent,” said Matt Hamill of Red Shed Malting at Red Deer. “It is high-yield, high-weight, looks really good for malting.”

That’s in stark contrast to some areas in the southern Prairies where questions remain about the quality of the harvest.

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The wet spring also eliminated some intended acres, leaving this year’s crop roughly 10 per cent smaller than last year.

According to Statistics Canada, 5.77 million acres of barley were seeded in Canada in 2017. Of that total, Alberta accounted for 2.85 million.

There are ideas that U.S. buyers are looking for Canadian malt due to the drought problems plaguing barley in the northern U.S.

However, prices seem to be a touch on the softer side right now, likely due to the recent harvest.

“Malt is a little higher than $4 (per bushel); it’s more in the $4.75 range right now,” said Hamill. “I think most farmers will probably want $5 before they let it go, though.”

Unlike other seasons, fusarium wasn’t much of a problem this year, which was another bonus for growers, he added.

— Dave Sims writes for Commodity News Service Canada, a Glacier FarmMedia company specializing in grain and commodity market reporting.


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