WHERE IN THE WORLD DO OUR GRAINS GO?
FEEDING THE GLOBE WITH CANADIAN WHEAT AND BARLEY
BY IAN DOIG
Canada is one of the world’s top grain exporters, and wheat and barley will make up a crucial component of the Canadian government’s plan to boost agri-food exports to $75 billion from $55 billion annually by 2025.
Many countries purchase these Canadian crops for their high quality and excellent characteristics as food and beverage ingredients. Canada has long been one of the world’s top-five wheat exporters, and the United States Department of Agriculture estimated that we will export 23 million metric tonnes (MMT) of it in 2017/18 crop year (August 31, 2017, to July 31, 2018). As Canada’s top grain market, the United States imported almost 1.3 MMT of this nation’s wheat in 2016/17.
Canadian barley is primarily grown as livestock feed, for distillation and to produce malt for brewing, with some used for various human food products such as barley flour, a nutritious, high-fibre ingredient used in bread products and dishes such as soups and stews. Canada exported approximately 1.9 MMT of barley in 2017—mainly to the United States, China, Japan and Saudi Arabia—with much of this destined for malting and beer making. Additionally, most of the malting barley we produce stays in Canada and is used by brewers who produced 22.3 million hectolitres of beer—85 per cent of the amount consumed here in 2016.