As it remains one of Canada’s top malting barley varieties in terms of acreage, FP Genetics expects demand for AAC Synergy to remain very strong for the 2023 season and beyond.

AAC Synergy is one of the four major malting barley varieties on the Canadian Malting Barley Technical Centre (CMBTC) 2023-24 Recommended Malting Barley Varieties List. Registered in 2012, it has been a mainstay malting barley variety in Canada since it first appeared on the list in 2013, popular with producers due in particular to exceptional yields, and reaching 28.5% of all malting barley seeded area in Western Canada in 2022, just below the top seeded variety CDC Copeland at 31% — and one of only a handful of malt varieties to ever reach that threshold.

AAC Synergy remains a popular variety among producers given its impressive agronomic performance, with the Recommended list indicating “Stable” production of this variety, a signal to end users that there will continue to be good supply of this variety.

From a market perspective, in 2023-24, the CMBTC qualified AAC Synergy as having “Declining Demand” as newer varieties gain acceptance by end users. As a result, FP Genetics has had questions from dealers and their farmer customers asking if they should stop growing this extremely popular barley variety in favor of something else. We are taking this opportunity to explain why the CMBTC included AAC Synergy in this category, what it means, and why you and your customers can feel confident in continuing to grow this variety for the 2023 season and beyond.

Why is AAC Synergy listed as having “Declining Demand” according to the Canadian Malt Barley Technical Centre (CMBTC) Recommended Malting Barley Varieties list for 2023-24? The CMBTC has eliminated their Established Demand category, which has traditionally been included on their annual Recommended Malting Barley Varieties list. The Established Demand category was applied to varieties that have been on the market for many years and enjoy a devoted following among maltsters. With this category now eliminated, varieties are classified as having Growing, Stable, or Declining Demand.

So is there in fact declining demand for AAC Synergy? According to the CMBTC’s own numbers, demand for AAC Synergy remains extremely strong; in 2022 it was the No. 2 malting barley variety behind CDC Copeland in terms of seeded acres in Western Canada (see figure 1). Peter Entz, vice-president of Seed and Traits for Richardson Pioneer, notes that AAC Synergy is having another strong sales year at Richardson Pioneer as it’s a variety that farmers like to grow for multiple reasons.

Then why would the CMBTC list it as having Declining Demand? While AAC Synergy is one of the Top 2 malting barley varieties in Canada, it was registered in 2012 and has been on the market for a decade. As CMBTC Managing Director Peter Watts explains, all successful malting barley varieties go through a natural lifecycle which sees them rise in popularity, stay stable, and eventually decline in favor of newer varieties. While demand for AAC Synergy remains extremely strong (he anticipates it could overtake CDC Copeland for seeded acres in 2023), a handful of end use customers increasingly are expressing interest in accepting newer varieties. This is an early sign that brewers are slowly moving away from AAC Synergy and toward other varieties, reducing demand for older ones such as AAC Synergy — hence its inclusion in the Declining Demand category. Peter Entz of Richardson Pioneer adds: “There is currently international demand for AAC Synergy, but of course it’s difficult to determine how sustainable that will be with the emergence of new varieties that have strong end use interest.”

How long do you anticipate there being a healthy demand for AAC Synergy? While nobody has a crystal ball, we expect AAC Synergy demand to remain strong for the foreseeable future. Adoption of new varieties takes time, and in the meantime, AAC Synergy will be in demand and continue to be one of the top varieties brewers turn to. We can assure dealers and their farmer customers that growing AAC Synergy is wise move, and FP Genetics will continue to monitor demand and inform our valued customers of any significant demand changes as time goes on. For more information feel free to contact our sales and marketing manager Cory Ells at

Figure 1: Distribution of malting barley varieties as a percentage of area seeded with malting barley in Western Canada in 2022. Source: CMBTC (based on data from the Canadian Grain