Barley in 2019: Year in Review
By Mitchell Japp
Provincial Specialist, Cereal Crops
Government of Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture
Looking back to mid- to late-May, it seems like 2019 has shaped up quite different than may have been expected at the end of seeding. At the time it was dry and crop development was slow. Once the rain started, the crop got growing and we saw quite a range of conditions.
The Ministry has regional offices in 10 locations across the province, as well as receiving calls at the Ag Knowledge Centre, and samples submitted to the Crop Protection Lab. Collectively, these are some of the issues that appeared in 2019.
Calls started in the spring with assistance planning fertility rates and seeding rates. Seeding rates are recommended between 210-250 plants/m2 (20-24 per sq ft) and requires a thousand kernel weight and germination test to develop accurately. Fertility will vary depending on objectives of malt or feed and risk tolerance for protein management in malt, but sound fertility recommendations start with a soil test.
Samples at the lab included several throughout the season affected by environmental stress. Insufficient moisture was a common cause. In one specific example, deep seeding led to emergence issues. The deep seeding may have been intentional (to find moisture), or a result of issues with the seeding equipment, planting speed or soil drifting in seed rows.
There were some issues with root rot. The dry soil, combined with cool temperatures led to slow emergence and overall crop development. This allowed root pathogens time to negatively impact the plants. Later in the year, some issues with smut were observed. Both issues can generally be resolved with an appropriate seed treatment.
Moving into spraying season, calls were focused on herbicide damage. Dry soils limited herbicide breakdown and led to some carryover issues. Soil moisture is a critical factor in herbicide breakdown. Other issues included spray tank contamination. Proper rinsing and washing is critical when changing herbicides.
Later in the season, after some precipitation arrived, other issues arose, including nitrogen deficiency and lodging. Nitrogen deficiency may have arisen due the plant not accessing the nitrogen band, earlier in the growing season when higher N uptake occurs, or may have just been insufficient for the growth that occurred after precipitation. Lodging is relatively common in barley, but some of the issues observed in 2019 may have been due to insufficient potassium fertilizer. Ensuring adequate potassium for cereal crops in general, and specifically barley, is an important tool in managing lodging.
The cool, wet weather has now hindered harvest operations for quite some time. Barley left in the field has had some severe sprouting issues leading to questions on management options for swath grazing. Barley harvested now is likely to need some drying. Although malt quality is unlikely now, malt or seed should be dried no higher than 45 C, commercial use 55 C and for feed anywhere from 80-100 C.
Other topics throughout the year included questions on fungicides, leaf disease, herbicide options to manage group 2 resistance and timing of various operations. A highlight was when a grower with a question on canola wanted to show off his barley field, which he thought was his best looking crop this year.
SCIC reminds Saskatchewan producers of coverage options this harvest season
The Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Corporation (SCIC) issued the following letter to Saskatchewan producers and ranchers this week.
Re: 2019 Harvest
The SCIC understands the challenges producers are facing this fall due to recent heavy rain and snow delaying harvest. I would like to take this opportunity to provide some information about coverage options available to Saskatchewan farmers and ranchers.
Crop Insurance provides coverage for both yield and quality loss on insured crops. It is important producers stay in contact with SCIC about their crop quality. Our offices will be able to identify producers who appear to be in a claim position due to quality losses.
If a Crop Insurance customer wants to put their crop to an alternate use, they simply need to contact their local SCIC office or Crop Insurance Customer Service toll-free line, at 1-888-935-0000. SCIC is committed to dispatching our adjusters to process producer’s pre-harvest appraisal, as timely as possible. In order to provide an accurate inspection for both yield and quality loss, SCIC prefers a harvested check-strip, with an adjuster present, to complete a producer’s appraisal and calculate any potential claim.
For those livestock producers worried about nitrates and other quality issues with feed stock or inquiring about winter feed plans, resources are available through the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture. Ministry specialists are available to assist producers with obtaining an analysis of their feed and developing a feeding plan for their livestock. Livestock and Feed Extension Specialists can also assist producers in management and planning when faced with salvaging grain crops for livestock forage. I encourage producers to please contact the Agriculture Knowledge Centre at 1-866-457-2377 or take advantage of the current SaskAgNow article discussing managing winter feeding with alternative feed sources, feed testing, winder feeding plans and; canola hay/silage for livestock: https://www.saskatchewan.ca/business/agriculture-natural-resources-and-industry/agribusiness-farmers-and-ranchers/sask-ag-now/livestock-and-feed
With crops currently still out in the field, I want to also remind your members about the Wildlife Damage Compensation Program. All Saskatchewan producers are eligible for coverage. Producers do not have to be a Crop Insurance customer to be eligible to submit a claim. Producers are encouraged to contact SCIC as soon as damage is detected: 1-888-935-0000. SCIC continues to monitor Wildlife Damage calls over the weekends during harvest season.
For those producer’s enrolled in AgriStability for the 2019 program year, lower than expected yields and crop quality downgrading could impact a participant’s margin. AgriStability participants can apply for an interim benefit before the year is over. Interim benefits allow producers to receive up to 50 per cent of their AgriStability benefit early. If producers have questions about AgriStability, they can contact their local SCIC office or call the AgriStability Call Centre at 1-866-270-8450.
As a producer myself, I understand this is a stressful time. The Farm Stress Line is available at 1-800-667-4442. This is a 24/7 confidential service, available to producers across the province. Whether your members are seeking information, or trying to manage a conflict or crisis, I encourage producers to reach out and seek assistance, if needed.
I am hopeful 2019 harvest will be completed through October and November. In the event harvest is further delayed and producers are unable to harvest their crop by November 15, Crop Insurance customers have the option to request an extension of insurance. An extension of insurance provides coverage on insured crops over winter. November 15 is also the deadline to file a claim and/or report their production declaration, following the completion of harvest. For more information on this, or any of SCIC’s programs, please visit our website: scic.ca.
We are currently monitoring the weather and harvest progress. SCIC is working alongside the Ministry of Agriculture, and our industry partners, to keep producers informed. I would encourage you to share this information with your members and if you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact my office.
President and CEO
Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Corporation
SaskBarley announces 2019 election
The Saskatchewan Barley Development Commission (SaskBarley) announced today that it will be holding an election this fall to fill three positions on its Board of Directors.
The months-long nomination period closed last Friday at 4PM and four candidates have been verified to run in the election:
- Keith Rueve, Muenster
- Michael Haydon, Swift Current
- Matt Enns, Rosthern
- Glenn Wright, Vanscoy
“We are pleased to have received a slate of high-quality candidates for our 2019 elections,” says Board Chair Jason Skothem. “This signals to us that the Saskatchewan barley community is engaged with the work we are doing and that barley producers are willing to invest their time and passion into helping build a sustainable future for our industry.”
Voting process and results
Candidate information will be posted on our website in coming weeks and will also be featured in our fall newsletter, which will be published and mailed in early October. Voting ballots and instructions will be mailed out to all Saskatchewan barley producers in October. An electronic voting option will also be available.
Election results will be announced in December and officially presented at the SaskBarley AGM in January 2020.
For more information:
Please direct any election-related questions to:
For all other inquiries:
SaskBarley Communications Manager
SaskBarley scholarships nurture the next generation of reseachers
The Saskatchewan Barley Development Commission (SaskBarley) has issued two, $5000 graduate-level scholarships for 2019. The scholarship program, newly introduced in 2019, is a channel for SaskBarley to invest in university students who are carrying out research that meets SaskBarley’s long-term goals, says Board Chair Jason Skotheim.
“Our organization’s mission is to help ensure barley is a long term, profitable and internationally competitive crop choice for Saskatchewan producers,” he says. “Specifically, we are interested in increasing production and value for barley producers, of both malt and feed varieties. Our two successful applicants this year are both doing innovative and exciting work in these areas.”
The two successful applicants for 2019 are:
- Fan Yang. A PhD student in the University of Saskatchewan’s Department of Plant Sciences, Fan is currently researching Ruhq, a gene that is resistant to covered smut, with the overall goal of helping breeders incorporate effective covered smut resistance into future varieties by developing tightly linked molecular markers to the Ruhq
- Coleman Nixdorff. Currently completing a Master’s degree in the University of Saskatchewan’s Animal Science program, Coleman is researching how processing feed barley affects the performance parameters, carcass qualities and starch digestibility of finishing feedlot cattle. His overall goal is to quantify the economic benefit of barley as feed, in order to maintain and increase demand for Western Canadian feed barley.
SaskBarley received several impressive applications for its scholarship program this year, Skotheim says.
“It was difficult to narrow it down to just two recipients and our board was encouraged to hear about the high quality research that is happening in Western Canada specific to barley. We thank all applications and hope they will consider our program again in coming years.”
For more information:
Grower reminder about pre-harvest products
A reminder for malt barley farmers in Saskatchewan as harvest 2019 begins:
Malt barley treated with glyphosate (i.e. Roundup) and saflufenacil (i.e. Heat) pre-harvest will not be accepted by grain buyers.
Selectors and buyers of malting barley in Canada require that barley must not have been treated with pre-harvest desiccants, in an effort to uniformly dry the crop, or glyphosate products for controlling perennial weeds.
While individual companies have their own means of enforcing this position, contracts with growers generally state that malting barley shall not have been treated with desiccants or other products such as glyphosate or saflufenacil. Use of these products is not accepted by the malting barley industry in Canada due to the potential for compromised quality such as a reduction in germination capacity.
Not sure about acceptance for your pre-harvest products?
Check with your buyer. Many Western Canadian buyers and selectors have technical staff to aid farmers with management decisions on how to achieve premium malt quality without using glyphosate, saflufenacil or desiccants, by applying specific practices such as early seeding, manipulating plant population to reduce tillering and increase uniformity, use of swathing, and choosing correct genetics for a specific growing area.
For more information, visit www.keepingitclean.ca/
Malt Academy 2019 – Saskatoon
SaskBarley and the Canadian Malting Barley Technical Centre have teamed up to bring you Malt Academy 2019 in Saskatoon this fall! This two-day course will provide Saskatchewan barley producers with a complete overview of the malting industry, domestically and globally, helping them to make informed decisions around growing and marketing their crops.
November 6-7, 2019 (opening reception the evening of November 5)
Saskatoon Inn, Saskatoon
Course is free for registered Saskatchewan barley producers
Email email@example.com with your name, business name and contact information.
Space is limited so register now!
Director nominations for barley and wheat commissions now open
The nomination period for director positions with both the Saskatchewan Barley Development Commission (SaskBarley) and the Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission (Sask Wheat) is now open.
SaskBarley will have three of six Board of Director positions open while Sask Wheat will be looking to fill three of seven Board of Director positions. The deadline to receive completed nomination forms for both organizations is Friday, September 13, 2019 at 4:00 p.m. Should the organizations receive more nominations than there are director positions available, elections will be declared and held during the period of October 18 to November 29.
Current SaskBarley Directors Cam Goff and Zenneth Faye will both be completing a second consecutive four-year term on the Board, which is the maximum term any Director can serve. Director Keith Rueve will be completing a term, but is eligible to serve again.
To be eligible to stand as a candidate, nominees must be registered producers, which is any producer who has had a Sask Wheat or SaskBarley check-off deducted since August 1, 2017 and has not requested or received a refund of check-off in the last fiscal year (August 1, 2018 – July 31, 2019). All nominations are required to include contact information and signatures from at least two registered wheat and/or barley producers who are supporting the nomination.
Nomination forms and election information can be found at:
For more information, please contact:
SaskBarley introduces two student scholarships for 2019
The Saskatchewan Barley Development Commission (SaskBarley) announced today that it is now taking applications for two scholarships for the 2019 year.
The scholarship program, newly introduced in 2019, is an opportunity to invest in promising university students who are carrying out university-level research that can help SaskBarley achieve its organizational goals, says Board Chair Jason Skotheim.
“We are very excited to announce this new program, which aims to help us encourage and support new research that will benefit Saskatchewan’s barley sector while also investing in our greatest source of homegrown innovation—our people,” he says.
“The investment into the next generation of scientists to lead the work in barley research is critical to the long term success of the crop for Saskatchewan farmers. ”
The program will include two scholarships, one at a PHD/graduate level for $5,000 and one at an undergraduate level for $2000.
These scholarships are open to any post-secondary students enrolled in part- or full-time studies focused specifically on barley research. Funding is for one year, but can be renewed.
For more information:
Western Canadian barley industry develops action plan
With funding support from the Alberta Crop Industry Development Fund (ACIDF), SaskBarley and Alberta Barley, in consultation with sector partners, has worked with the food, feed, and malting barley value chains to develop the strategic market development plan: Getting to Growth: A Western Canadian Barley Action Plan.
Development of the Getting to Growth Action Plan over the course of 2017 was overseen by a
representative advisory committee and involved consultations with key sectorial stakeholders across the distinct barley value chains: feed, malt and food.
With the integral collaboration of the Barley Council of Canada, SaskBarley Development
Commission, the Canadian Malting Barley Technical Centre (CMBTC) and the Brewing and
Malt Barley Research Institute (BMBRI) Getting to Growth is intended to encourage industry wide collaboration and guide strategic investments and activities in the barley sector over the next 10 years.
See the full plan
Cereal commissions call for changes in value creation consultations
(Calgary, Alberta) January 14, 2019 – Western Canadian cereal commissions including the barley, oat and wheat commissions from Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan are calling for major changes in the Government of Canada’s current consultation process on value creation. In a letter to federal agriculture minister Lawrence MacAulay, the commissions say the likelihood of an industry wide agreement on either of the proposed models is low and are asking for more consultation including consideration of other options. Further consultations must focus on engaging producers with a new value proposition.
The two models include end point royalties and trailing royalties for wheat, oat and barley seed. Producers provided significant input on these models during recent consultation meetings and the majority of producers were not in favour. Producers put forward alternative options that must be included in further consultations.
The commissions agree that there is a need to maintain, sustain and grow research and have been involved in value creation discussions through the Grains Round Table (GRT). However, the GRT has not approved these two models and had requested that AAFC conduct an economic analysis of the two options prior to any farmer consultations. To-date, this analysis has not been done making it impossible for producers to make an informed decision on a path forward. The commissions say the government must put the time and due diligence into this issue to ensure the results are in the best interests of producers.
Canada has a strong public plant breeding system that currently integrates government and producer funding. All cereal commissions in Western Canada recognize the importance of variety development through public plant breeding programs and provide funding for variety development through provincially regulated levies that are mandatory, yet refundable to producers.
View the letter now
More information on value creation and the proposed models