Industry News


Top Notch Meetings 2021 – Mark Your Calendar!

SaskBarley is once again partnering with SaskCanola to bring you Top Notch 2021. See a schedule of events below and save the date!

Upcoming Top Notch Farming Webinars – Mark Your Calendar!

Crop Storage: Protect Your Investment
Feb 18, 2021 9:00 am – 11:00 am (CST) (brought to you by SaskBarley, SaskCanola, Alberta Canola and Manitoba Canola Growers Association)

Soil Fertility Management: 4R Focused
March 4, 2021 9:00 am – 11:00 am (CST) (brought to you by SaskBarley, SaskCanola, Alberta Canola and Manitoba Canola Growers Association)

Stay tuned for registration information!

Virtual Grade School 2021

Grain farmers: Learn about degrading factors in wheat and barley along with other important information at Virtual Grade School 2021!

Tuesday, January 19, 2021
12 p.m. to 1 p.m.

Joey Vanneste, Canadian Grain Commission (CDC) Operations Supervisor for Northern Saskatchewan, will explain how to spot different degrading factors in wheat and barley. In addition, he will be discussing how to collect a representative sample of grain and the benefits of utilizing programs such as the Harvest Sample Program and the “Subject to Inspector’s Grade and Dockage” program.


SaskBarley AGM 2021

The difficult decision has been made to cancel the 2021 CropSphere Conference due to the uncertainties regarding COVID-19. The health of our attendees, sponsors, and speakers is our top priority and we want to do our part to ensure everyone remains safe.

The annual general meetings (AGMs) for the CropSphere host organizations will be held virtually on January 12, 2021.


Agenda & 2020 meeting minutes

The day will also include presentations from market analysts on the market outlook for each crop. The AGM schedule is below:  

Tuesday, January 12, 2021  

8:30 – 9:30 AM – Market outlook: canola, wheat, and barley  

9:30 SaskCanola AGM

10:30 AM SaskBarley AGM

11:15 AM Sask Wheat AGM

12:15 PM Lunch Break

12:45 – 1:30 PM Market outlook: flax and oats

1:30 PM SaskFlax AGM

2:15 PM SaskOats AGM

3 – 4 PM Market outlook: pulses

4 PM Sask Pulse Growers AGM

5 PM Finish


As this year’s event is virtual, we are asking any resolutions to be submitted by January 11, 2021. Please submit your resolution to

CBRC commits over $1.5 million to AAFC barley breeding activities

(Calgary, Saskatoon, Carman) – The Canadian Barley Research Coalition (CBRC), a collaboration between Alberta Barley, the Saskatchewan Barley Development Commission (SaskBarley), and Manitoba Crop Alliance (MCA), has committed more than $1.5 million over five years to a core barley breeding agreement with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC).

The agreement ensures that western Canadian farmers will have continued access to premium barley varieties from AAFC for years to come.

CBRC was officially formed earlier this year, with the goal of facilitating long-term investments aimed at improving profitability and competitiveness for western Canadian barley farmers. CBRC also assumed responsibility for farmer funding of barley varietal development from the Western Grains Research Foundation (WGRF), which includes working with AAFC to ensure adequate funding is in place to deliver improved genetics and profitability for barley farmers. 

“This new phase of funding will allow the continuation of ‘core’ activities for AAFC’s barley breeding programs, which aim to design new varieties that have the best sources of disease and insect resistance, are designed for western Canadian growing conditions and will deliver high quality traits for end users,” says Jason Skotheim, Chair of the CBRC and SaskBarley.

“This funding will support the development of new two-row malting varieties that are adapted to Western Canada and have improved yields, stronger straw, and higher kernel plumpness, test weight and kernel weight,” Skotheim says. “They will also have improved disease resistance, including for fusarium head blight and traits specifically designed to appeal to the evolving needs of the malting industry.”


“Public barley breeding is crucial to Canada’s agriculture sector and the barley varieties AAFC has produced to date are a tremendous return to the farmer investment in this program. This next round of investment will further leverage our check-off investments by developing varieties that will allow our farmers to stay competitive globally, especially in the malting barley world, and reduce farmer business risk.”

Jason Skotheim, SaskBarley Chair

 “Manitoba Crop Alliance knows how important it is to continuously work on the improvement of barley varieties so that western Canadian farmers are able to remain competitive. We’re excited to invest in
this collaboration and are looking forward to learning about the varieties that are developed out of this funding agreement.”    

Fred Greig, Manitoba Crop Alliance Chair

“We are pleased to be collaboratively investing with our fellow Prairie barley commissions and AAFC in varietal development. This investment ensures western Canadian farmers future access to improved, high-quality barley varieties. This core breeding agreement will attribute to new barley varieties providing farmers with stronger agronomic packages, plus superior end-use quality traits for the malting sector.”

David Bishop, Alberta Barley Chair

For more information, contact:

Delaney Seiferling
Communications Manager

Malt Academy Saskatchewan 2020 – Virtual

Friday, November 13, 2020
Virtual event (via Zoom)

SaskBarley and the Canadian Malting Barley Technical Centre have teamed up to bring you another Saskatchewan-focused Malt Academy this fall! This half-day, virtual 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. 

See full agenda


Barley Production, New Varieties, Markets-Peter Watts

Barley selection – Jon White

Growing Malt Barley – Drew Sharp

Malting 101 – Aaron Onio

Brewing 101- Andrew Nguyen

Course is free for registered Saskatchewan barley producers and members of Saskatchewan’s barley industry.

Email with your name, business name and contact information.


CBRC commits $2.7 million to USask CDC barley breeding activities

September 15, 2020 (Saskatoon, SK) – The The Canadian Barley Research Coalition (CBRC) announced today it will invest $2.7 million over five years in the University of Saskatchewan’s Crop Development Centre (CDC) through a core breeding agreement to develop barley varieties with improved agronomics, disease resistance and end-use quality. 

The CBRC is a collaboration among the Saskatchewan Barley Development Commission (SaskBarley), Alberta Barley and Manitoba Crop Alliance (formerly the Manitoba Wheat and Barley Growers Association).

“The agreement with the CDC ensures that western Canadian barley farmers can expect new and improved barley varieties from a world-class, multi-million dollar breeding program over the next five years,” says CBRC Interim Chair Jason Skotheim and SaskBarley Chair.

“This investment into the CDC breeding program will produce deliverables that will allow our farmers to stay competitive,” Skotheim says. “The last round of producer funding provided to the CDC saw the registration of two new malting varieties, one feed variety and one hulless variety. In the next five years we expect another three varieties to be released. This will have major benefits to our farmers.”

The CDC, which is known for research excellence in developing high-performing crop varieties, is uniquely set up to deliver effective results for western Canadian agriculture. The new agreement will enable the program to expand and capitalize on new opportunities.

“The keys to past success within the CDC barley breeding program have been the skilled staff, the in-house malt and molecular marker labs and the ability to evaluate large numbers of breeding lines,” Skotheim says. “This CBRC funding will support these pillars moving forward.”

Investment in CDC plant breeding activities has helped create new markets and opportunities for a wide variety of crop producers, said CDC barley breeder Aaron Beattie. 

“We are very pleased with the long-term funding from the CBRC and appreciate the confidence they have in our program,” he says. “We look forward to continuing to deliver improved varieties to the Canadian barley industry and providing value to all within the value chain.”

Finalizing this agreement with the CDC was the first order of business for the CBRC, officially formed earlier this year, and is in line with the organization’s goal of facilitating long-term investments aimed at improving profitability and competitiveness for western Canadian barley farmers.

The organization will also provide funding for qualifying regional projects that align with variety development and agronomic priorities.

For more information:

Delaney Seiferling
SaskBarley Communications Manager

Erin Tateson
Interim Communications Manager
Alberta Wheat and Barley Commissions

Kate Menold
MCA Communications Coordinator

Victoria Dinh
USask Media Relations


“Collaboratively investing in barley’s varietal development is key to keeping barley farmers competitive. This core breeding agreement with the CDC will lead to enhanced barley varieties and secures our future with access to competitive and profitable varieties. Stronger agronomic packages and higher yields combined with quality traits that meet the needs of the brewing and malting industry will be the return on this barley breeding investment.”

David Bishop, Alberta Barley Chair

“Manitoba Crop Alliance understands how important it is for breeders to secure long-term funding when developing new varieties and considers programs aimed at improving the competitiveness and profitability of barley farms in western Canada a major priority. We are thrilled to be doing our part to help make this possible through this collaboration with our sister organizations in Saskatchewan and Alberta”

Fred Greig, Manitoba Crop Alliance Chair



SaskBarley issues research call

The Saskatchewan Barley Development Commission (SaskBarley) is pleased to announce a call for Letters of Intent (LOI) for barley related research.  SaskBarley was established in 2013 and is led by a producer-elected Board of Directors from across Saskatchewan.  SaskBarley’s mission is to identify, develop and support research, market development, and extension initiatives that ensure the long-term profitability and sustainability of barley for Saskatchewan producers.  Since its inception SaskBarley has made the support of research a key priority for their organization by allocating over 60% of their annual budget to research.

The primary goals of SaskBarley’s research program is to increase profitability of barley production for barley producers through:

  • Yield gains and agronomic efficiencies
  • Varietal uptake
  • Enhanced desirable market quality characteristics and specifications
  • Yield parity between malt and feed barley
  • Best management practices
  • Understanding end-user and consumer needs and aligning barley specifications with production outputs
  • Value added opportunities for barley in feed, food, malt or industrial end uses

Available Funding:

SaskBarley’s Board is pleased to announce the approval of $1M in funding to be directed to the research supported under this call.  It will be considered an asset if a researcher articulates a plan to acquire additional matching funding from other source(s) outside of this call.  

Upon approval from the researcher, the following barley research funders may also review the research proposals under this call: Canadian Barley Research Coalition, Alberta Barley Commission, Manitoba Crop Alliance, Brewing and Malting Barley Research Institute, Beef Cattle Research Council and the Western Grains Research Foundation. 

Application Process:

  • September 14, 2020: Call for Letter of Intent (LOI) Opens (LOI template)
  • October 16, 2020: LOI is due
  • December 1, 2020: Request for full proposal notification
  • January 15, 2021: Full Proposals Due on or before March 1, 2021: Notification of funding to successful recipients

If you are interested in submitting an LOI please complete the attached LOI Template and send it to by October 16thth, 2020.

Thank you for your interest.

Glyphosate and malt barley crops

Peter Watts from the Canadian Malting Barley Technical Centre discusses his advice to farmers re: using glyphosate on malt barley crops this year in this short video. His main message: don’t do it.

Watch now

SaskBarley now taking applications for 2020/21 scholarships

The Saskatchewan Barley Development Commission (SaskBarley) is now taking applications for its 2020/21 scholarships.

The scholarship program, introduced last year, is an opportunity to invest in promising university students who are carrying out university-level research that can help SaskBarley achieve its organizational goals. It is also designed to encourage and support new research that will benefit Saskatchewan’s barley sector.

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.

To apply, or learn more, visit

For more information:

Delaney Seiferling
Communications Manager

Fungicide Application in Cereals

Early Bird Doesn’t Always Get the Worm

By Mitchell Japp, PAg, Provincial Specialist Cereal Crops, Regina

June 2020

Wheat crop at herbicide timing.
Wheat crop at herbicide timing.

Seeding is complete and in-crop spraying is well underway. Some growers may consider including a full or partial rate of a fungicide with the in-crop application of herbicides on cereal crops. Recent evidence suggests that including a fungicide with an herbicide application is not beneficial and could be detrimental in both the current and future years.

Adding a fungicide, such as propiconazole, into the sprayer along with the herbicide seems to make sense theoretically, saving another sprayer pass and the direct cost of the fungicide is relatively small. It may also appear like good insurance against later disease issues. However, both recent and historical studies on the prairies have shown that there is no benefit to either a full or half rate of fungicide, even if that fungicide remains active for another seven to 10 days after application.

Dr. Kelly Turkington, with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, led a research project looking at the impact of fungicide and herbicide timing in barley production from 2010-2012. They added a half-rate of propiconazole to herbicide timing at the two to three leaf growth stage and five to six leaf growth stage. Results showed that the disease levels were higher on early treatments compared to flag-leaf timing. Crop yields, along with several key quality parameters for barley, were optimized with the fungicide at flag leaf timing. They also tested a dual application, with an early application and a flag leaf application. There was no improvement compared to a single application at flag leaf. Additionally, they observed that delaying herbicide application to the five to six leaf stage from the two to three leaf stage, barley yield declined due to early weed competition. Weed control was excellent at all sites in the study, but in regular field operations delayed herbicide application could lead to reduced weed control which would lead to increased weed seed production. (CPJS 95:525-537)

Another study by Dr. Sheri Stryhorst updates earlier research conducted in Saskatchewan. The earlier research in Saskatchewan was conducted on irrigated land in the early 1990s. The early Saskatchewan work on irrigated fields did not lead to notable trends in yield, but disease was significantly reduced with fungicide timing at the flag leaf stage compared to earlier applications (at herbicide timing). (CJPS 94: 205-207). Dr. Strydhorst’s, with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, is using modern varieties in an intensive management system, with zero-till operations, similar to what many producers will be doing on their farms. The study focused on tight rotations that may be more susceptible to disease risk, using a canola-wheat rotation, although two crops is not really a rotation. The study was conducted in 2018 and 2019 at four location includes multiple factors and treatments, including variety, fungicide rates, fungicide timing and fungicide mode of action.

Their findings were similar to other research. There was no yield improvement or disease control improvement with a single fungicide application at either herbicide timing or at PGR (plant growth regulator) timing (GS 30-32). However, there were considerable reductions in disease levels and on average a 9 per cent yield increase when fungicide was applied at either flag leaf timing or anthesis timing. In 2019, the yield response was even more notable, with a 12-17 and a seven to 15 per cent yield benefit with a fungicide application at flag leaf or anthesis timing, respectively. They also looked at dual applications, with the first fungicide application at either herbicide or PGR timing compared to dual fungicide applications when the first fungicide application was at flag leaf timing. In most site years, there was no significant yield advantage of dual fungicide applications over single fungicide applications at flag leaf or anthesis timing. (This study is not yet published, but is discussed on The Growing Point podcast).

These results are consistent with recent research that also found that in most cases a single fungicide application at anthesis (Fusarium Head Blight timing) is sufficient for control of leaf diseases (Crop Protection 112: 343-349). In a severe outbreak, managing leaf disease at flag leaf timing may be advantageous, instead of waiting until FHB timing. Recent work out of the northern Great Plains in the U.S. found that a routine fungicide application at flag leaf when the disease risk is low, only generated a positive net return less than one-third of the time (Plant Health Progress 19:288-294). The goal is to protect the upper canopy from leaf disease as yield is derived from the upper canopy. However, in some unusual conditions, there may be a benefit to an early fungicide application. Research out of North Dakota State University has shown that early fungicide applications may result in a small yield benefit, but only in a continuous wheat on wheat “rotation.” They did not observe any benefit to an early season fungicide when a wheat followed another crop. So, just don’t grow wheat on wheat.

Farmers are living with the reality of herbicide resistant weeds. Fungicide resistance is also possible. There are reports of fungicide resistant Fusarium in the north-east United States. Now is the time to be cautious to delay fungicide resistance development. Unnecessary applications and applying the fungicide at a lower rate than recommended (which may be sub-lethal) increases the risk of developing fungicide resistance.

So, while the direct costs of early season fungicide are not high, there is no evidence to suggest there are sufficient benefits, economic or otherwise, to justify the expense. And, there may be additional costs due to delayed weed control and the potential for development of fungicide resistance.

Good fungicide management decisions come down to an understanding of the disease triangle. In order to have the disease, you need a susceptible host, a virulent pathogen and the right environmental conditions. Check the leaf disease resistance ratings in the Varieties of Grain Crops. Scout your fields and watch for signs of the disease. Pay attention to weather patterns. The primary goal is to protect the upper canopy so those leaves can be contributing to yield. Determine if the crop is worth further investment to protect it from leaf disease, based on yield potential, price, potential loss due to disease and the cost of the fungicide application. There are a lot of factors to consider, but early-season fungicides generally shouldn’t be one of those considerations.