Alberta Barley

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The Growing Point

Welcome to The Growing Point

Our goal with this newsletter is simple; to provide Alberta farmers and agronomists with timely, relevant and valuable agronomic knowledge sourced from science-based research and projects funded by the Alberta Wheat and Barley Commissions. You will also find a few opinion articles addressing management perspectives and other agronomic pointers to help you make informed agronomic decisions.
This monthly newsletter will include written articles, audio interviews and videos. Additionally, impromptu information may be released to address timely agronomic problems in Alberta. We hope the agronomic information from these newsletters brings value to your farm. Have agronomy questions? Feel free to reach out by emailing me at the address below.


Jeremy Boychyn
Research Agronomy Extension Specialist

February 2020

January 2020

CMBTC Update: Winter Storage Recommendation – January 9, 2020

A reminder to farmers: check your bins. The difference between feed and malt can be $1.50/bushel or more!

With the challenging 2019 harvest behind us (at least for most) an important consideration for farmers with malting barley this winter will be properly storing and monitoring the grain to ensure quality does not deteriorate. Even barley that did not appear chitted at harvest is showing signs of pre-harvest sprouting when tested, and in some cases this is resulting in a loss in germination. If your barley has excess moisture levels (i.e. above 13.5%) and/or has not had a chance to cool down since harvest, it is at risk of heating, loss of germination and other issues such as mold and mildew.

Generally speaking, the industry standard for germination in malting barley is minimum 95%, and good storage conditions can help maintain malting barley vigour. Heating, mold and mildew can also lead to barley being rejected for selection as malt.

What to do?

  • Check your bin tops for moisture migration. A small bit of tough barley can ultimately spoil the whole bin if not addressed.
  • If your moisture level is above 13.5%, you should try to get the moisture down.
  • Run your aeration fans on cold days to freeze your bins. Cool and dry grain has greatly improved shelf life.
  • If air/heat is not possible in the bin, you may need to remove all or part of the grain from your bin to dry it, or at least cool it down before putting it back in the bin.

You can submit a sample to your local malting barley buyer to check the germination level of your barley. Questions can also be directed to:

Jill McDonald, SaskBarley

Geoff Backman or Jeremy Boychyn, Alberta Barley


Peter Watts


December 2019

We are into December and the majority of crop in Alberta is in the bin. However, there are significant acres in the northwest and Peace region that still require harvesting. On top of this, the challenges and impacts of low falling number (FN) continue to impact producers in Western Canada.

Through my discussions with farmers and agronomists over the past couple of months, I have been presented with a number of questions regarding FN. Some common questions relate to mitigation methods, causes for low FN and variety selection in relation to FN. With this in mind, I reached out to Dr. Richard Cuthbert with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada to address some of these questions in the most recent edition of The Growing Point Podcast.

As always, if you have additional questions regarding FN or other agronomic challenges, please feel free to reach out to us.

Jeremy Boychyn, Msc P. Ag
Agronomy Research Extension Specialist
Alberta Wheat and Barley Commissions

Grasshopper Forecast 2020

Don’t miss Agronomy Update 2020

Wheat Initiative Growers Survey

Recommended malt barley varieties by CMBTC

June 2019

May 2019

Assessing cereal frost damage

April 2019