SaskBarley’s 2020 call for barley research results in $1 million in funding

March 10, 2021 (Saskatoon, SK) – The Saskatchewan Barley Development Commission (SaskBarley) announced today it will fund another approximately $1 million of barley research over the next four years – a major advancement for barley producers in Saskatchewan.

This funded research is the result of a call for research proposals the organization issued last year, with a goal to invest in new and exciting barley research – not available through traditional research channels — to benefit Saskatchewan producers.  

Another goal of this research call was to help the organization ramp up its quickly expanding research program, says Chair Matt Enns.

“Research is the core business function of SaskBarley,” he says. “Since our inception we have been focused on strategically and sustainably growing this function. With this latest investment, we are nearly where we want to be, now allocating more than 60 per cent of our annual budget towards this goal.”

SaskBarley received 18 full applications as a result of the research call last year, of which nine were approved for a total value of approximately $1 million over four years.

Funded projects focus on areas such as exploring novel mechanisms of resistance to fusarium head blight and management of other diseases in barley, optimizing processing practices, and enhancing malting barley quality for beer production, says SaskBarley Research and Extension Manager Mitchell Japp.

“The nine projects approved by the SaskBarley Board all meet our overall research program goals, of increasing yield gains and agronomics, establishing best management practices and enhancing end market appeal,” he says. (See a full listing on projects below.)

“We expect these research investments will have a major impact on barley production in the province.”

Total value for the funded projects, including in-kind and other support, is more than $2.3 million.


Funded projects

  • Establishing a seed testing protocol and greenhouse/growth cabinet based disease evaluation method to improve disease management against bacterial leaf streak in barley (Randy Kutcher, University of Saskatchewan)
  • Examining Fusarium growth and interactions with barley trichomes under the hull (Matthew Bakker, University of Manitoba)
  • Assessing the effects of blending CDC Clear hulless barley malt for beer production (Yueshu Li, Canadian Malting Barley Technical Centre)
  • Processing barley grain with variable kernel size (Greg Penner, U of S)
  • Western Canadian provincial malting barley variety field trials (Yueshu Li, CMBTC)
  • Develop and understand resistance to FHB and leaf diseases of barley for Western Canada (Kequan Xi, Field Crop Development Centre)
  • Enhancing capacity of barley breeding programs in Western Canada: establishing disease nurseries and selection of germplasm for pre-breeding (Gurcharn Brar, University of British Columbia)
  • Targeting mycotoxin resistance to control Fusarium head blight (Liz Brauer, Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada)
  • Next generation of barley traceability (Rory O’Sullivan, Grain Discovery)


For more information:

Cole Christensen

Communications Manager