The Manitoba Advantage in Wheat and Barley

Manitoba is the heart of Canada’s grain industry with many commodity organizations and leading companies clustered around Winnipeg. The province is the third largest producer of spring wheat and barley in the country. Canada’s variety registration and grain grading system enable the production and export of clean, consistent and high-quality grains. These factors position Canada as a reliable supplier of safe and nutritious wheat across the globe. Canada has consistently ranked as one of the top global exporters of wheat across the world.


Manitoba’s Wheat and Barley Industry 

  • The majority of wheat grown in Manitoba is Canadian Western Red Spring, a class of wheat that is known for high protein content and quality. It is used to produce a wide-range of products such as breads and noodles.
  • In 2019, Manitoba reported 3.1 million acres of seeded area and 4.9 million tonnes in production. Manitoba exported around 3.4 million tonnes of wheat valued at $1 billion. Top export markets include Indonesia, Japan, China and Bangladesh.
  • Barley supplies is used to supply the domestic malt industry and the food processing industry. In 2019, Manitoba reported 336,000 acres of seeded area and 528,900 tonnes in production. Manitoba exported 143,005 tonnes of barley with a total value of $46 million.
  • Both wheat and barley play a critical role in supplying protein and energy to the growing animal feed industry here in Canada and across the world.

Processors

Industry Associations

Market and Consumer Trends

The demand for wheat is growing worldwide and wheat protein content is an important factor in determining wheat’s quality and functionality. Spring wheat protein content is about 13 to 14 per cent while barley protein content is about 9 to 10 per cent. The global food industry offers highly specialised wheat protein ingredients such as isolates and textured wheat protein. Wheat protein can be used in a variety of new food products such as nutritional supplements and beverages (wheat protein isolate) or meat replacements (wheat textured protein). 

Research

The Canadian International Grains Institute, located in Winnipeg, provides pre-market and in-market technical support for the Canadian grain sector. The organization conducts research on the versatility and functionality of Canadian grains. The organization plays a role in bridging the gap between consumer and market demand, and ongoing grain research.

The Manitoba Crop Diversification Centres, the University of Manitoba, and the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada research station in Brandon conducts cereal crop agronomy research. Manitoba based research institutions offer expertise in plant breeding and innovation. The University of Manitoba has a wheat breeding program, while the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada research station in Brandon has a wheat and barley breeding program.  


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