Dr. Bryan Harvey

Renowned plant breeder, Dr. Bryan Harvey developed more than 60 varieties of barley during his prolific 50-year career. A living legend in the malting barley industry, Bryan’s ground-breaking work on two-row malting barley helped establish Canada’s enviable position in the global malting barley marketplace.

Born in Wales, Bryan’s academic career and barley research began at the University of Guelph, and then at the University of Saskatchewan where he taught and researched for more than 30 years. It was here he developed barley varieties that continue to deliver tremendous returns for Canadian agriculture and the malting industry.

Bryan’s approach to plant breeding was driven by creativity, in the name of improvement, with an emphasis on end use quality, and began with his MSc research where he worked on the first step in the creation of canola. Bryan had a vision that Canada would benefit from two-row malting barley for export at a time when only six-row was used. His most notable variety, Harrington, was registered in 1981 and quickly became the gold standard
in two-row malting barley and the dominant variety across the Prairies for more than 20 years. In 1999, CDC Copeland was registered—a perfect match for the craft beer industry and a two-row variety preferred by domestic and international customers, and the number one malting variety grown in Western Canada. Harrington and Copeland dominated Canadian barley acres for more than 40 years, and each variety was further recognized as Seed of the Year.

Although he reached rock star status with the brewing industry, Bryan’s work was not only about brewing. His commitment to germplasm conservation included chairing the Canadian Expert Committee on Plant and Microbial Genetics Resources. He represented Canada on the US National Committee on Plant Genetic Resources, and the seed sector on Canada’s delegations to negotiate the Convention on Biological Diversity and the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.

Bryan was a vital driving force behind the initiation of Plant Breeders’ Rights that would ensure Canadian pedigreed seed growers and commercial producers would benefit from new varieties. The longevity of the varieties he developed is a testament to his breeding programs including the barley breeding program he established at the Crop Development Centre at the University of Saskatchewan.
Bryan has been aptly recognized with numerous awards including the Saskatchewan Order of Merit, Presidential Award from the Crop Science Society of America, Officer of the Order of Canada, Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal and Honorary Life Member of Saskatchewan, Alberta and Canadian Seed Growers’ Associations.

Dr. Bryan Harvey’s prolific career as a malting barley breeder—and trusted advisor to the seed industry—has dramatically improved Canada’s global economic output and strengthened our reputation as a consistent supplier of high-quality products.

Nominated By:
  • Canadian Seed Growers’ Association