An historical account is given of barley growing in Western Canada and of changes in the barley market. Currently about 0.44 m hectares are planted to barley and production is about 11 m tonnes. The average barley disposition for 1981 to 1985 was 5.5 m tonne of feed barley for export (compared to 0.1 m tonne in the 1960's), 4 m tonne of feed barley for domestic use, 1 m tonne for malting and 0.5 m tonne for seed. Of the malting barley, 0.435 m tonne was malted for domestic use, 0.29 m tonne exported as malt and 0.275 m tonne exported as malting barley. Over the past ten years there has been a major decline in the production of six row malting barley. During this period the barley growing area planted to two row malting varieties has increased from 20% to over 30% of total planted area and from 24% to 43% of area planted to malting varieties. In 1985 the area planted was 36% for six row malting barley (Bonanza 25%, Conquest 6%), 30% for two row malting barley (Klages 16%, Harrington 5%) and 34% for feed barley (Johnston 8%, Bedford 6%). Barley breeding programs to improve two row varieties were initiated or expanded in the late 1960's and early 1970's. New varieties Harrington and Ellice were grown on a commercial scale in 1986. The development of these varieties and the current Canadian barley research programs are reviewed.
Keywords : barley breeding malting production two-rowed variety