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Hamill Farms #Plant21 Update

Hamill Farms #Plant21 Update

2021: A Drought To Remember
John Hamill

Back in 1998, the malting barley variety of the day was Harrington. Harrington was a barley that surpassed all other varieties, giving both farmers and the malting and brewing industry exactly what they desired in a barley. On Hamill Farms, Harrington barley replaced Klages barley. I remember that we were so surprised and happy to have a barley that could yield more than Klages and still have a shorter number of days to maturity.

1998 was also the earliest harvest we ever had on the farm. That year we started harvest on the 6th of August and finished up on the 4th of September. It was one of those years that you always remember. Other notable years on the farm were the drought of 2002 and the hail storm of 2006.

Our 2021 season is going to be another year that Hamill Farms will remember for a long time. The drought of 2021 will be remembered for both how wide spread it was, as well as its severity. Here are the latest estimates from Statistics Canada on production (in millions of tonnes) for 2021 compared to last year.

                      2021        2020

All Wheat:     21.71        35.18

Barley:            7.14        10.74

Oats:              2.58          4.57

Canola:         12.78        19.48

Peas:              2.53          4.59

On our farm we were lucky to receive 5.5 inches of rain, enough to give us a very good crop.  Most of the prairies were not as fortunate and this will be a very difficult year for many farmers.


Barley production was excellent this year for us.  If you have been following along with the field updates, you will know that we planted 3 varieties of barley this year - CDC Churchill, AAC Connect, and Lowe. We had good yields and excellent quality across all three varieties.
The barley was the brightest (no staining on the kernels) we have seen in a long time. Proteins are low and germination tests are excellent. CDC Churchill is a new malting variety, so we are excited to get that one into more hands so we can get some feedback on how you like it in your brewing and distilling.


Wheat yields were lower this year due to the lack of moisture, though the quality and weight are good. Our 2020 wheat quality was better than this year so we will continue to malt the 2020 crop.



Our Oats did not like the hot days this summer, and both yield and bushel weight were reduced. It also rained a small amount on the Oats before they were harvested, so they are slightly stained. We have lots of great Oats from the 2020 crop, so we'll continue to malt them.


Canola does not like the hot days of June and July, especially when its flowering. We have jsut finished harvesting our Canola, and the yield was better than expected after the hot weather, and their quality is good.


Peas are a crop that seem to like the heat. The yield and quality of our pea crop was similar to last year.  We added them into our crop rotation to assist in our sustainable farming as they naturally add nitrogen back into our soil, which our cereal crops really appreciate.

We are incredibly fortunate to have access to incredible grains, and we love that we can share our farm and malthouse with our community. 
While we're aware there will be some increased costs on barley and malt in the industry, we want to assure our community that Red Shed's pricing will remain the same. 
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