GFM Network News


CDC Copeland and AC Metcalfe are the undisputed heavyweights of Western Canada’s malt barley scene, accounting for 78 per cent of malt acres this year. But both are two decades old and new varieties such as CDC Bow — which has improved standability and lower beta-glucan content — may challenge that duopoly.

Better barley: There’s a long wish list for brewers and feeders

Yield is No. 1 for growers but elements such as ‘Lox,’ beta-glucan, and acid detergent fibre are key, too

Ask most barley producers what they want in a variety and the answers won’t surprise you: Better yield, standability and disease resistance. But when it comes to buyers, it gets a little more complex. Both foreign and domestic customers — especially beer makers, but also feeders — are looking for traits few people even thought […] Read more

Barley organization to streamline

Alberta Barley is welcoming the Barley Council of Canada’s decision to undergo a “strategic realignment.” Changes will involve collaboration on delivery of service and sharing of resources with Cereals Canada, the Canadian Malting Barley Technical Centre, and the Brewing and Malting Barley Research Institute. The move follows a review by the Barley Roundtable, an initiative […] Read more



Kyle Geeraert and wife Meleah found a receptive audience when they proposed creating a malting and brewing company.

Being open to new ideas creates opportunity

Farm family isn’t fearful of doing something different if someone is passionate about it

When Kyle Geeraert was getting his start in agriculture one of his stops was managing a grain company, where he and wife Meleah were exposed to some new malting equipment they thought had promise. Meleah happened to have some connections in the industry. She is the daughter of Spencer and Lynne Hilton and malting barley […] Read more


Hop growers Brent and Kari Tarasoff and brew master Marc Shields have seen incredible growth in their microbrewery over the past year — but the brewing business is not for the faint of heart.

Ponoka microbrewery eyes world domination

Kari and Brent Tarasoff had no intention of opening a brewery when they began growing hops in Penticton, B.C. four years ago. But their five-year plan got thrown out the window last year when they opened Siding 14 Brewing Company in Ponoka with two partners. And pretty soon, they’ll need to toss out their new […] Read more

This is the goal for every malt grower, but it’s not an easy one to achieve.

Trying to grow malt barley can make you cry in your beer

There’s way more money in malt than feed, but just 20 per cent of growers capture 80 per cent of malt sales

Kevin Sich thinks malt barley could give canola a run for its money any day of the week — even if market share doesn’t reflect that. “Malt barley is probably one of your most profitable crops. Return on investment is probably very strong,” said Sich, Rahr Malting’s grain department manager. “But if malt barley is […] Read more



Fresh hops can fetch $8 a pound, but only have a shelf life of about 24 hours before they must be dried.

Demand is there, but jumping into hops isn’t easy

If you’re wondering if hops might be something you’d like to try, Ontario’s Ag Ministry’s website has a powerpoint primer called Local Hops: A brewing industry. Even though the presentation is barely a year old, Alberta doesn’t even make the list of hops-growing provinces. The owners of Northern Girls Hops west of Edmonton actually started […] Read more


Brothers-in-law Spencer Peterson (l), and Randy Adams have started small with one acre of hops, but they plan to grow up to 10 acres 
within three years.

Hop in: Growing craft brewery market drives demand for local hops

The startup costs are significant, but demand for Alberta-grown hops is growing fast, 
and there’s money to be made for enterprising producers

A visit to an old grape orchard in the heart of B.C. wine country last summer has inspired two southern Alberta producers to try their hands at a different kind of viny crop — hops. “That was really the seed that started it all,” said Randy Adams, who owns and operates Pair O’ Dice Hops […] Read more

Having a more direct connection with end-users is “more exciting” 
than just selling a commodity product, says Penhold-area producer 
Wade McAllister.

This malt’s for you — growers profit from ‘drink local’ movement

Alberta barley growers earn premiums — and satisfaction — by direct contracting with brewers

Wade McAllister didn’t expect to be a direct marketer when he returned to his family’s grain farm in 2010. But with the demise of the Canadian Wheat Board in 2012, McAllister found a whole new market open to him — direct contracts with breweries for his malt barley. “Ever since the wheat board was dropped, […] Read more