Strong prices in Canada prompt recovery in barley acres

Published Jul 10, 2021

Tridge summary

Barley acres in Canada will top eight million in 2021, the first time barley has reached that level since 2009. Statistics Canada, in its June forecast, pegged Canadian barley acres at 8.3 million. That’s up 10 percent from last year and an increase of 45 percent from 2017, when acres sank to a low of 5.7 million. Farmers who haven’t grown barley for years gave the crop another try this spring, said Zenneth Faye, president of Barley Council of Canada.

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“This year (barley) hit that magic number — the $5 plus (per bushel) for new crop,” said Faye, who farms near West Bend, Sask. “For a lot of years, the barley market has been around $3 (per bu.).” The strong prices convinced farmers to return to barley or expand their acreage in 2021, but the crop didn’t quite reach its expected level. In March, Statistics Canada projected barley acreage at 8.6 million. “It looks like some of that barley area snuck into canola,” said Bruce Burnett, director of markets and weather information for Glacier MarketsFarm. It’s not easy to compete with canola prices at $15-$18 per bu., but some farmers stuck with barley this spring for agronomic reasons. Diseases like blackleg and clubroot have become problematic on thousands of canola fields in Western Canada because some farmers have been seeding the oilseed every second year. “The canola rotations over the years have been tightening up,” Faye said. “People are starting to realize that’s not a good ...
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