Reporting from Ontario, Canada.

It seems demand for straw is healthy across the water, like it is here in Ireland. Straw in Canada has risen in price from 5c/lb to as much as 15c/lb in the past year in Ontario.

This, in turn, has led to increased interest in crops which carry straw such as winter barley and spring cereals.

The majority of the demand is for bedding, while some is used to increase fibre in animal diets.

In fact, the demand for straw has prompted Cribit Seeds to investigate European varieties of both winter and spring barley.

Growth in winter barley area

Winter barley in Ontario needs to be planted between September 5 and September 15. Cribit Seeds is trialling four winter barley varieties from Colorado (US) and a host of varieties from Europe.

While six-row varieties are yielding better, two-row crops are providing more straw and are becoming more popular.

The expected yield is 150bu/ac, while quality looks to be behind Ireland with regard to KPH.

On a tour of Cribit Seeds, our host did admit that the varieties could have been cut a week earlier and that harvesting would start over the coming days; straw breakdown was a problem in the plots.

AgriLand visited Cribit Seeds yesterday, July 24, and saw some of the workings of its seed plant (facility). We also observed variety trials that were taking place.

Meanwhile, Cribit Seeds works with Dekalb and SeCan to provide varieties that are suitable for growers in the Ontario region.