Thomas Turkington (1), Michael Edney (2), Marta Izydorczyk (3), John O’Donovan (1), Kevin Sich (4), Bob Sutton (4); (1) Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Lacombe, AB, Canada; (2) Malting Barley Quality Lab, Canadian Grain Commission, Winnipeg, MB, Canada (retired); (3) Canadian Grain Commission, Winnipeg, MB, Canada; (4) Rahr Malting Canada Ltd., Alix, AB, Canada

Malt and Grains

Barley growers have the option to use seed previously grown themselves (bin-run seed) or, alternatively, to purchase certified seed. However, the quality of bin-run seed may be more variable, and this could negatively impact malt barley productivity and malting quality. The objectives of the current study were to assess the quality yield and yield component responses of malting barley for certified compared to bin-run seed. Field research trials were conducted at research sites across the prairie region of western Canada from 2010 to 2012, with subsequent analysis of malting quality. Consistent differences in crop productivity and kernel quality between certified and bin run were limited in the current study. Over the three years of the experiment, no consistent differences were found between certified and bin run seed in terms of malting quality. Barley quality from most growing locations in 2010 was compromised due to poor germination and high prevalence of water sensitivity. Four reps each from Beaverlodge and Brandon were selected for micromalting and analysis in 2010. Barley quality in 2011 was very good, with most growing locations being suitable for malting. Three reps each from Indian Head and Scott were selected for micromalting and analysis in 2011 based on their excellent germination characteristics and suitable protein levels. In 2012, three reps each from Lethbridge, Lacombe and Scott were selected for micromalting and analysis. Barley from Lethbridge was very plump and had excellent germination and vigor, with no water sensitivity. Barley from Lacombe was thinner, lighter and had good vigor, with moderate water sensitivity. Over the three years of the experiment, no consistent differences were found between certified and bin run seed. At Beaverlodge in 2010, certified seed resulted in barley with significantly lower protein and better germinative vigor. This resulted in malt with higher extract, better friability and lower beta-glucan. At both Indian Head and Scott in 2011, barley produced from certified seed was plumper and had higher kernel weight. This had no effect on malt quality. The nature of the bin-run seed is likely responsible for the limited differences in productivity and malting quality that were observed from 2010 to 2012. Certified seed was sourced from seed growers, while in contrast bin-run seed was sourced from producers supplying malt barley to Rahr Malting, Inc., and this grain used for seed was typically only one year away from certified. Seed sourced from malt barley producers was also typically from grain that had likely attained malting status from Rahr Malting, Inc. and, thus, would be expected to be of good quality with high levels of germination. It is expected that bin-run seed from other sources, and where it is more than one year away from certified, would likely have much different quality and might produce more pronounced negative effects in terms of productivity and malting quality.

Thomas (Kelly) Turkington is a plant pathologist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), in Lacombe, AB, and is part of the joint Alberta/Canada Barley Development Group. He received a B.S. degree in agriculture and agricultural biology in 1985 and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in plant pathology from the Department of Biology at the University of Saskatchewan. Kelly’s main focus at Lacombe is on barley, wheat, and canola diseases as part of collaborative studies with colleagues across Canada. As a plant pathologist, Kelly works with a range of colleagues, including research agronomists, weed scientists, plant breeders, malt quality researchers at the Canadian Grain Commission, and the malting industry to develop malt barley production strategies that improve crop health, increase productivity, and improve the quality of the harvested grain for malting and brewing.