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Production Overview

  • Total area planted – 3.357 million hectares (10% higher than 2020), and 25% higher than 10-year average
  • Total production — 6.948 million tonnes
  • Average barley yield — 43.0 bushels per acre (but 70.8 bushels per acre in 2019, 71.1 in 2020, and 10-year average of 66.1 ; ie drought in 2021 had significant impact on overall yield
  • Total barley production in western Canada in 2021, however, is estimated at only 6,602,000 tonne (approximately 37% lower than 2020, as 2021 was plagued by severe drought and lack of moisture contributing to extremely low yields – 42.2 bushels per acre compared to 7.18 BPA in 2020)


  • Initial malting trials indicated that this year’s barley easily absorbed water during steeping and needed substantially shorter wet steep cycles to achieve adequate hydration levels compared to previous years
  • First and second steep cycles were reduced by 1 and 4 hours respectively
  • In addition, the temperature of steeping was decreased to 14 Celsius to 15 Celsius
  • Germination was conducted at 15 Celsius for the entire process (96 h)

Barley Quality

  • Dry and hot growing conditions in 2021 contributed to much higher levels of protein in barley grain than normally observed
  • Average protein level was 13.2% in 2021 (significantly higher than 2020 level of 11.8%)
  • Excellent average germination energy (98%) with very little water sensitivity
  • Average plumpness of 2021 barley was 96.1% (higher than 2020 of 92.4% and 10-year average of 93%
  • Test weight was 64.8 kg/L (lower than 10-year average of 67 kg/L)

Malting Quality

  • Barley processing in a Phoenix Micromalting System indicated that this year’s barley easily absorbed water during steeping
  • Higher percentage of grain protein in 2021 barley contributed to about 2% lower malt extract levels than in previous years but also contributed to higher levels of malt enzymes and free amino nitrogen
  • 2021 barley is particularly suitable for adjunct brewing