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Barbarea (winter cress or yellow rocket), also Barbarea, is an edible and fodder oilseed crop, also refers to the technical non-agricultural crops of the crop rotation, in many ways similar to rapeseed. In the world practice of agriculture rapeseed and Barbarea are often considered as one crop under the common name “rapeseed”.

Economic importance

The oil content in the seeds of Barbarea is 32 to 50%, protein – up to 20-23% protein, carbohydrates – up to 17%. Spring and winter forms of Barbarea are used in agricultural production.

Oil of Barbarea refers to semi-drying and is used for food and technical purposes.

Barbarea can be grown as a fodder crop for green mass, silage, haylage, grass meal. For this purpose it can be cultivated as the main crop, in intercrops and after haying. Fodder value is similar to that of rapeseed: 100 kg of green mass is 16 fodder units and contains 3 kg of protein or 190 g per 1 fodder unit. Green mass is well eaten by animals, the digestibility coefficient is 70-80%.

Barbarea can also serve as a green fertilizer.

It is a good honeycomb.

Oilcake and meal of winter Barbarea (varieties with a reduced content of erucic acid and glycosinolates) are considered good concentrated feed for livestock. Cake and meal from seeds of common varieties can also be fed to animals, but in small quantities. 1 kg of cake corresponds to 1 feed unit.

Crop history

Originating in the Mediterranean.

Cultivation areas and yield

Originating in the Mediterranean.

Areas of cultivation and yields
As a fodder crop, Barbarea is cultivated in Eastern and Western Siberia, in the Central Black Earth and Non-Black Earth zones of Russia, as well as in the north of Kazakhstan, Ukraine and the Baltic countries.

In terms of seed yield, Barbarea is inferior to rapeseed, but in Siberian conditions it steadily matures, unlike rapeseed.

The yield of spring Barbarea seeds can reach 1.7-2.0 t/ha if all the complex of technological methods are followed and all the factors are taken into account, which ensures high and stable yields with the use of modern varieties, plant protection means and machinery system.

Yield of green mass when used for fodder purposes reaches 25-40 t/ha.

Botanical description

Spring Barbarea (Brassica tara L. ssp. oleifera campestris) and winter Barbarea (Brassica tara L. ssp. oleifera automnalis) are annual herbaceous plants in the cabbage family (Brassicaceae).

In addition, hybrids have been bred that may be of great interest for agricultural production. The perko hybrid is a polyploid hybrid of winter Barbarea and Beijing cabbage (Brassica chinensis L.). The tifon hybrid is a hybrid of winter Barbarea and turnip.

Tap root, well developed, poorly branched, penetrates into the soil to the depth of 1.5-2 m.

Stem is erect, branched, blue with dense waxy bloom, pubescent underneath.

The plant height is 100-170 cm.

Rosemary leaves are lyre-like, feathery-incised, with sparse hard pubescence without waxy bloom. Middle leaves are elongate spike-shaped. Upper leaves are oblong-lanceolate. Cauline leaves are sessile, covering the stem in its lower part entirely.

Inflorescence is scutellum; fruits have a longer beak than in rape.

Weight of 1,000 seeds 1.6-3.5 g.

Biological features

Barbarea is a long-day plant.

Seeds begin to germinate at a temperature of 1-3°C. Sprouts can tolerate frosts down to -3 … -5 °C. Plants are able to vegetate at 2-3°C and survive autumn frosts as low as -8°C.

Sharp temperature fluctuations in spring after snow melt pose a great danger for winter Barbarea.

Winter Barbarea and perko are considered more winter-hardy than rape due to the relatively lower location of the points of growth from the soil surface (0.5 cm).

Barbarea is very demanding to moisture. Water consumption during the growing season is 1.5-2.0 times higher than that of winter wheat. Transpiration coefficient is 500-700.

Can grow on all types of soils, except heavy clayey and sandy, acidic and waterlogged soils. Demanding to soil fertility.


The period from sprouting to stemming is 30-40 days, after which the rapid growth of vegetative mass begins.

Spring growth and development phases of winter Barbarea and perko come 5-7 days earlier than rapeseed.

The period from sprouting to maturing is 75-90 days.

The following growth and development phases are noted in winter Barbarea:

  • sprouting;
  • rosette formation (6-8 leaves);
  • stemming;
  • flowering;
  • pod formation;
  • milky state of seeds;
  • wax maturity;
  • full ripeness.

Crop rotation

Cultivation technology of winter Barbarea requires taking into account its biological characteristics: small seeds, slow growth and development in the initial phase of development, high requirements for nutrients and soil fertility.

The best predecessors of winter Barbarea for seeds are black and fallow, perennial grasses, silage crops, annual grasses for green fodder (except Sudan grass). In the Northern Caucasus – also grain crops. In crop rotation it should not be returned to the field earlier than 4 years and should be placed after cruciferous crops as well as on fields weedy of the cruciferous family (Brassicaceae).

The best predecessors for spring Barbarea are cereals after fallow, row crops, turnover of perennial grasses.

The technology of growing winter and spring Barbarea for green fodder is similar to growing rape for the same purpose: winter Barbarea is best preceded by layer or the rotation of the perennial grasses, legumes, row crops, winter and spring grain crops.

In crop rotations, as well as rapeseed, due to its powerful root system, Barbarea is considered a phytosanitary crop.

Fertilizer system

Barbarea responds well to fertilizer, especially nitrogen and potassium.

It is recommended to apply manure in the amount of 20-30 t/ha under the steam-intensive crop. In the Northern Caucasus, N90-120P60-90K60-90 is applied under plowing to obtain high yields of seeds. According to the recommendations of the All-Russian Institute of Fodder, in the Non-Chernozem zone 90 kg/ha of potassium and phosphorus fertilizers are applied under plowing, 50 kg/ha of nitrogen is applied under pre-sowing cultivation, and 60-90 kg/ha is applied in early spring fertilizing. It is advisable to calculate the rate of fertilizer application for the planned yield, taking into account the reserves of nutrients in the soil and their removal with the harvest.

When growing winter Barbarea for green fodder between the first and second hay cutting it is desirable to apply nitrogen fertilizers with an approximate rate of 60 kg/ha a.d.m.

Tillage system

Soil treatment for winter Barbarea is the same as for rape.


Sowing of winter Barbarea is started 2-3 weeks earlier than winter crops, so that by winter the plants have formed a powerful rosette of leaves, a deep penetrating root system and have been hardened.

Sowing methods of winter and spring Barbarea are ordinary row or broad-row.

Seeding rates for winter and spring Barbarea are 12-15 kg/ha for ordinary row sowing and 6-8 kg/ha for broad-row sowing.

The depth of sowing winter Barbarea seeds is 2-3 cm (Vavilov; according to other data, 0.5-2 cm, Kolomeychenko), and if the top soil layer dries up to (3) 4-5 cm.

When growing winter Barbarea for green mass, sowing is started early in spring and is carried out simultaneously with sowing of early spring crops.

Sowing of spring Barbarea is carried out early, simultaneously with the sowing of early spring crops.

The depth of sowing of spring Barbarea seeds is 3-4 cm.

When using winter Barbarea for green conveyor, it is sown in August. Seeding rate is 2.5 million germinated seeds per hectare, or 6-7 kg/ha. The choice of optimal timing of sowing determines the resistance of plants to the conditions of overwintering. To do this, the plants must go under the winter, forming a rosette of 6-8 leaves. To improve overwintering conditions, it is desirable to create strip of white mustard seeds at the rate of 1-1.5 kg/ha mixed with winter Barbarea seeds.

Winter Barbarea for green fodder can be grown according to the technology with under-seeded crops. In this case it is sown as usual in autumn and mixed with vetch, oats and annual ryegrass in early spring. Seeding rates in this case are 120 kg/ha, 100 kg/ha and 25-30 kg/ha. Sowing is carried out by disc seeding machines across the rows of winter rape. Sowing depth on heavy soils is 3-4 cm, on light soils – 5-6 cm.

Winter Barbarea can be sown in mixtures with other crops, such as oats, peas, sunflower, oil radish, white mustard. Recommended seeding rates: rape (5-6 kg/ha), oil radish or white mustard (20-25 kg/ha), oats (100-130 kg/ha), sunflower (10-15 kg/ha), peas (90-100 kg/ha). In this case, first sow a mixture of peas, oats, and sunflowers, then roll the soil and sow a mixture of winter and spring cabbage crops.

Crop care

The care of the winter Barbarea is similar to that of rape.

Plant protection

To control the pests in the Barbarea crops, spraying with metaphos 0.2-0.3 kg/ha a.m. is used. Treatment during flowering phase is not carried out so as not to cause death of bees.

To control weeds, you can use herbicide Treflan 25% with a rate of 2.5-3 l/ha, which is made under pre-sowing cultivation.

The main diseases of rape are false powdery mildew, Alternaria, powdery mildew.


Winter Barbarea are characterized by an extended period of seed maturity.

Harvesting is carried out in a single phase at the onset of the phase of full ripeness using combine harvesters adjusted for harvesting of small-seeded crops.

In dry weather, two-phase harvesting is preferable. Plants are mowed in swaths when the lower leaves fall off, about half of the pods on the plant turn lemon-yellow, and seed moisture is 30-40%. Swaths are threshed as they dry out and when seed moisture is 10-11%. In wet autumn threshing is carried out when the humidity of the seeds does not exceed 20% with immediate cleaning and drying to 10-12%.

When growing winter Barbarea for green fodder, its harvesting is similar to that of rape used for the same purposes.


Crop production / P.P. Vavilov, V.V. Gritsenko, V.S. Kuznetsov and others; Ed. P.P. Vavilov. – 5th ed., revised. and additional – M.: Agropromizdat, 1986. – 512 p.: ill. – (Textbook and textbooks for higher educational institutions).

V.V. Kolomeichenko. Crop production / Textbook. — M.: Agrobusinesscenter, 2007. — 600 p. ISBN 978-5-902792-11-6.