November 23, 2023 By Top Crop Manager
The Canadian Malting Barley Technical Centre (CMBTC) has published its 2024-25 list of recommended malting barley varieties. The guide offers producers and industry insights into preferred varieties based on agronomics, quality and market demand.
The 2024-25 list contains five main varieties: AAC Synergy, CDC Copeland, AAC Connect, CDC Fraser and for the first time CDC Churchill.
As a top global exporter of malting barley and processed malt, Canada is recognized for its high-quality varieties and consistent performance in processing. Newer varieties such as AAC Connect and CDC Fraser are steadily gaining acceptance in the malting and brewing industries, although the process takes time, says Peter Watts, managing director at the CMBTC. “End users want assurance that any new variety introduced into their operations will align with their process and end-product. Brewers are very conscious of quality due to its direct impact on efficiencies and end-use characteristics including sensory attributes.”
“With improved agronomics and disease resistance, new varieties have proven themselves to be high performers in Canadian fields, driving increased area. But there must be matching supply and demand,” says Jon White, CMBTC board chair. “It’s the classic chicken or egg scenario—insufficient supply makes it challenging to source and sell enough quantities to international customers at a cost-effective rate. Yet, for producers to expand adoption, they want to ensure there is a market.”
As a result, the CMBTC works closely with end-users to test new varieties at a micro, pilot and production scale. “We provide comprehensive quality and performance data, supply samples and even facilitate commercial trials with new varieties in our export markets to expedite acceptance,” says Watts.
Canada’s premium value proposition is maintained by high standards that underpin the production of top-quality barley. It is recommended that producers use certified seed to maintain varietal purity and to help ensure their barley is selected for malt. Meeting that minimum 95 per cent purity requirement threshold is critical as maltsters process batches consisting of single barley varieties to ensure consistent and high quality.
This year’s list also contains changes that provide additional information detailing the demand differences between domestic and international categories. Newer varieties tend to be adopted more quickly in the domestic malting industry, whereas older varieties may be phased out sooner compared with international markets. The breakout endeavours to give producers a better understanding of the marketplace.
“Given the growing market acceptance of our new varieties and their improved agronomics, I would encourage producers who plan to grow barley in 2024 to consider a new malt variety if they have not already,” says Watts.
All varieties on the list are registered with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and are designated by the Canadian Grain Commission as malting varieties.
Visit here to see the 2024-25 list.