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Spring barley

Spring barley is a cereal crop and belongs to the spring cereals of Group I.

Economic importance

In Russia spring barley is cultivated as a food, technical and fodder crop. Coarse-grained and vitreous barley is used to produce flour, barley and pearl barley groats. Because of its poor gluten quality barley flour is of little use for baking. That is why barley flour is sometimes mixed (up to 10-15%) with wheat or rye in the Far North, where barley is one of the major grain crops. Bread made from pure barley flour is weakly porous and stale quickly.

Spring barley has excellent fodder characteristics. Its average composition is: water – 13%, protein – 12%, fat – 2.1%, protein-extractive substances – 64.4%, ash – 2.8%. 1 kg of grain equals 1.28 fodder units. Barley straw and chaff are also used as coarse fodder and are well eaten by steamed animals. 1 kg of straw equals 0.35 fodder units.

Barley can also be used as a substitute for coffee, the production of malt extracts, alcohol and confectionery industry. Two-row varieties are considered the most valuable for brewing. They yield large, evenly-keeled grains with a low protein content of 9.0-12.5%, a low filminess of 8-10%, and a high germination rate of up to 95%.

In the south of Russia, it is used as green fodder and hay in mixtures with vetch, chickpeas, peas and other crops.


Cultivation of barley began in the 7th millennium BC and is one of the oldest crops. Cultivated barley was probably domesticated from the wild barley (Hordeum spontaneum C. Koch).

Different types of barley were formed in the Mediterranean, Near and Middle Asia, China, Korea, and Japan.

Planted areas and yields

Spring barley is characterized by drought tolerance, early maturity, heat tolerance, and cold tolerance. It is sown from the Arctic Circle (up to 68°N) to the southern regions, but a large share of its sowing is concentrated in the steppe regions of the North Caucasus and in the Central Black Earth zone. Because of its ability to withstand air drought, its crops are common in southeastern Russia, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.

In the world agriculture in 80s this crop was sown on about 76 mln ha, in 90s it was sown on 65 mln ha or 9% of total area of cereals. The gross yield of grain is about 150 million tons or 7% of the total grain yield. Average yields are 2.3 t/ha. It is sown in Western Europe, North America (USA, Canada), Central America, Asia (China, India, Asia Minor).

In the USSR, barley was sown on more than 32 million hectares in 1982; in 2001-2005, in Russia it was 10.2 million hectares (22.6% of the barley area), of which 9.6 million hectares was spring barley. The gross harvest is 18.4 million tons, including 16.4 million tons of spring barley. The average winter barley yield was 3.44 t/ha and the average spring barley yield was 1.92 t/ha (1.62 t/ha in 1997). When cultivated according to intensive technology, the potential yield can reach 4-7 t/ha.

On the territory of the former USSR three cultivation zones can be singled out:

  • northern – food barley;
  • southern – feed and export barley;
  • western (Belarus, forest-steppe zone of the Ukraine, north-western
  • regions of Russia, the Baltic states) – malting barley.

The division is conditional, since zonality does not exclude the universal use of barley. However, the requirements for barley, primarily for malting barley, are satisfied to a greater extent in the western zone where the grain is rich in high-molecular-weight proteins and is most suitable for brewing. In the mountainous regions of Russia, its crops rise to heights of up to 3,000 m above sea level.

Among the spring cereals of Group I, spring barley gives the highest and most stable yields. The average yield for 1976-1980 in the USSR was 1.61 t/ha, in some farms it reached 7.0 t/ha, which indicates the possibility of high yields in all regions of the country. 

Botanical description

The genus Hordeum L. includes three species of cultivated barley (Hordeum sativum Jessen.): double-row barley (Hordeum distichon L.), multi-row barley (Hordeum vulgare L.), intermediate barley (Hordeum intermedium vav. et orl.), and many wild barley species.

The weight of 1000 grains is 30-60 g. The vegetation period is 65-110 days. It is the earliest ripening crop of cereals of group I. Relates to the plants of the long light day. It grows stronger than spring wheat and oats. 

The root system is fibrous. The stem is a hollow straw, 55-100 cm high. The leaf plate is somewhat wider than that of wheat. The uvula is short, with large auricles without cilia, which go behind each other when grasping the straw. The inflorescence is an ear. The ear is awned, with the exception of the furcate, which has three-lobed appendages instead of awns. The awns are longer than the ear, arranged in parallel.

The ear is yellow, less frequently black. Grain is wide, laterally compressed, with a groove, without a pappus, membranous, less frequently glabrous, elliptical, acuminate at the tip. Cotyledons are fused with floral scales. Coloration of membranous grains varies from yellow to light yellow.

The membraniness of two-row barley is 9-11 percent, while that of multi-row barley is 10-13 percent. Multi-row barley grains differ in size: the lateral grains are smaller and slightly curved at the base.

Self-pollinator. In dry and warm weather the barley blossoms before the ear emerges from the leaf sheath.

Barley is subdivided by the number of fruiting spikelets on the stem segment:

  1. Multiple-row barley (Hordeum vulgare L.), or common barley. There are three fruiting spikelets on each stem segment, which develop and produce grain. Depending on the density of the spike, the multi-row spike is subdivided into:
    • the group of regular six-row (hexastichum) barley hexastichum L., with a dense, thick, comparatively short spike, which in cross-section has the form of a regular hexagon;
    • a group of irregular six-row (tetrahedral) barley tetrastichum Korn with a less dense spike, the rows of grains are not quite right, the lateral spikelets go behind each other, the middle spikelets are more developed than the lateral ones, the spike has two wide edges on the front side and two narrow ones on the side, in cross-section it looks like a quadrilateral.
  2. Double-rowed barley (Hordeum distichon L.). Of the three spikelets located on a stem segment, only the middle one bears fruit; the side ones are sterile. The double-row barley is divided by the nature of the non-fruiting spikelets into:
    1. nutanita R. Red, in which the lateral barren spikelets have flower and spikelet scales;
    2. dificientia R. Red, in which the barren lateral spikelets consist only of spikelet scales. In crops, double-row barley occurs only nutanita;
    3. dificientia barley occurs as an impurity usually in Transcaucasia.
      Barley intermediate (Hordeum intermedium vav. ct orl.). One to three grains may normally develop on the node of the spike-rod.

In Russia, the multi-row and the two-row subspecies are common. The multi-row subspecies is usually more precocious and drought-resistant than the double-row ones, so it is cultivated from the Far North to the South and Southeast.

Each of the first two types of barley is subdivided into varieties according to traits:

  • awnness – awned or awnless – three-lobed appendages;
  • nature of the awns – serrated or smooth;
  • color of spike and grain – yellow or black;
  • grain membrane – filmy or glabrous;
  • ear density: dense (more than 15-18 segments per 4 cm of stem length) or loose (7-14 segments).

There are 20 varieties of barley in Russia. The greatest area of sowing is accounted for by nutans of two-row and pallidum of multi-row. The awnless, or furcate, barley is also of interest: horsfordianum – ears are multi-row, yellow, grains are filmy; trifurcatum – ears are multi-row, yellow, grains are glabrous. However, varieties of these varieties are not grown in Russia, as they are characterized by low yields and unstable to adverse conditions.

Holo-grain barley varieties have a high protein content, so they are used for the production of groats, barley coffee, and flour. They are almost never grown in Russia.

Biological features

Spring barley is well adapted to different soil and climatic conditions.

Temperature requirements

Seeds germinate at +1 … +2 °C, early and uniform shoots appear at +6-10 °C, the optimum germination temperature is 20-22 °C. Sprouts are able to tolerate frosts as low as -8 °C. At -4 … -5°C, only the tips of leaves get damaged. During flowering and ripening, plants are sensitive even to small frosts. During the ripening period, frosts of -1 … -3 °C are dangerous for grain germination, which is often observed in Siberia. Frost-killed grain completely loses germination.

Varieties are characterized by cold tolerance. Varieties zoned for the circumpolar regions of the European part and Siberia show the greatest resistance. High temperatures up to 40 °С and higher spring barley during grain ripening withstands better than wheat and oats.

According to a research of V.R. Zelenskii, at air temperatures of +38-40°C barley leaves lose their ability to close their stomata after 24-35 h, while it takes 10-17 h and 4-5 h for spring wheat and oats. The heat tolerance of barley is associated with its early maturity and the ability to intensively use nutrients in the early stages of development.

Moisture requirements

Spring barley is one of the most drought-resistant cereals of Group I. According to the Research Institute of Agriculture of the South-East, it has a transmissible coefficient of about 400, according to other data – 300-520. In arid regions it usually yields more than spring wheat.

During germination the seeds consume up to 50% of water of their own weight.

Varieties differ greatly in their resistance to air and soil drought. One of the most drought-resistant varieties is Nutans 187.

Because of the poorly developed root system of the spring drought is worse than that of oats. Spring barley in the phase of emergence in the tube is the most sensitive to the lack of water. If there is a lack of water in the soil during this period, the ear cannot develop normally, and the number of barren spikelets increases. Moisture deficit is also unfavorable during ear emergence.

Soil requirements

Spring barley is relatively adapted to all soils. However, it responds well to soil fertility. Fertile structural soils with a deep arable layer, medium-consolidated loamy soils are preferred. Poorly develops on sandy loam and sandy soils. Acidic peaty, marshy soils are of little use. Optimal soil acidity pH 6.5-7.5. It does not succeed on saline soils.

With application of fertilizers, high agrotechnics and liming gives good yields on soils of the Non-Black Earth zone.


During germination, 5-8 roots are formed, but the root system is weak. In the tillering period, which occurs 18-20 days after sprouting, 4-5 stems are formed, 2-3 of which are productive. In droughty conditions begins flowering before the ear emerges from the leaf sheath. Flowering is completed before the spike emerges completely.

Crop rotation

The best predecessor for spring barley are row crops (corn, potatoes, sugar beets), under which, as a rule, fertilize. Good also include winter crops coming after fertilized bare fallow. Allowed to sow after spring wheat, if it comes after perennial grasses or after a bare fallow.

Spring barley sown after row crops is most suitable for brewing. In this case it gives a high yield of good quality with a high starch content.

For food or fodder purposes, barley is sown after leguminous crops. In the beet-sowing areas a good precursor is sugar beet.

According to the Poltava Agricultural Experimental Station, the average barley yield in 17 years after potatoes was 2.1 t/ha, after corn – 1.96 t/ha, after flax and beet – 1.75 t/ha, after spring wheat – 1.7 t/ha, after barley – 1.53 t/ha.

Due to early maturity, barley is a good predecessor for spring crops and in some areas for winter crops. For example, in areas with sufficient moisture in the Krasnodar Territory and the Nizhny Novgorod Region, winter wheat is sown after spring barley. Barley is used as a cover crop due to its early harvesting date.

Fertilizer system

Due to the short growing season and low root assimilation capacity, it is more demanding to mineral nutrition. Mineral fertilizers increase productive bushiness, but an excess of nitrogen leads to lodging.

To form 1 ton of grain and the corresponding amount of straw (1.4 t) consumes 25-30 kg of nitrogen, 11-12 kg of phosphorus and 20-28 kg of potassium. The greatest consumption of nutrients is in the initial phases of development. From seedlings to tillering, up to half of phosphorus and nitrogen and almost 3/4 of potassium of their total amount used during the growing season are consumed.

The greatest consumption of nitrogen is at the beginning of tillering – the emergence of a tube, its lack during this period leads to a violation of the formation of the ear. Potassium increases the strength of straw, the drought resistance of plants and resistance to diseases, influences the re-utilization of plastic substances from vegetative organs into the ear.

Direct application of manure under spring barley is practiced in northern areas, where it is the main cereal crop. In other regions, it is sown as a second crop (i.e. one year after manure application), as it makes good use of the after effects of manure. Doses of manure for the Non-Black Soil Zone (under deep autumn tillage under the predecessor) – 30-40 t/ha, the forest-steppe and steppe zones – 15-20 t/ha.

Phosphorus and potassium are applied under autumn plowing, nitrogen under pre-sowing cultivation and in top dressing.

Table. Yield increment of spring barley from the application of mineral fertilizers, kg of grain per 1 kg a.s. fertilizers (Perm Agricultural Institute)

After potatoes
After perennial grasses
without fertilizer
Nitrogen, N
Phosphorus, P2O5
Potassium, K2O

The application of phosphorus and potassium fertilizers improves the brewing quality of barley. The best yields are obtained with the application of full mineral fertilizer, especially in the western regions. In Belarus, when applying full fertilizer yield increase is up to 0.6 t/ha, in the Perm region – 0.51 t/ha.

On podzolic, gray forest soils, degraded or podzolized black soils, barley responds well to the introduction of nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizers, on drained swamp – on potassium. In the zone of gray and chestnut soils of great importance are nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizers, on heavy chernozems – phosphorus-potassium.

Types and doses of fertilizers set with available reserves of nutrients in the soil, the planned yield, the coefficient of use of nutrients.

Approximate doses of mineral fertilizers N20-30P45-60K25-40. On soils poor in organic matter, the rate of nitrogen fertilizers increases. Under conditions of sufficient moisture, the maximum dose of nitrogen is 90 kg/ha. When cultivating barley for brewing after cereals and row crops the nitrogen dose is 60 kg/ha and 30 kg/ha respectively.

When growing forage barley following the intensive technology it is recommended to apply N80P70K75 fertilizers in the Non-Black Soil zone and N90P90K90 fertilizers in the Central Black Soil zone. They are applied under the main tillage and pre-sowing. The effectiveness of strip application of fertilizers to a depth of 12-16 cm was noted.

Row application of granulated superphosphate P10-20 at sowing increases the effectiveness of phosphate fertilizers. Phosphate row fertilizer promotes root system development and increases resistance to adverse conditions, affects the consumption of other nutrients, accelerates the formation of generative organs and grain ripening.

The row fertilizer of phosphorus P10-20 and nitrogen fertilizer N30 in a phase of emerging in the tube is effective in the cultivation of forage barley. Nitrogen doses should be adjusted taking into account leaf diagnosis.

For normal growth and development of plants microfertilizers are also used:

  • boric – on lime-laden soils;
  • manganese;
  • zinc – on soils rich in mobile phosphorus;
  • copper – on peat soils;
  • molybdenum – on sour soils with pH less than 5.2.

Deficiency of any of the microelements in the soil leads to increased disease incidence, disturbed metabolism in plants and reduced yields. It is expedient to establish the necessity of microelements application according to the results of soil diagnostics.

On drained peat soils application of copper sulfate in a dose of 25 kg/ha and pyrite cinder 500 kg/ha increases the yield of spring barley. The effect of copper fertilizers is manifested within 3-4 years.

Micronutrients are also used for pre-sowing treatment of seeds and foliar fertilizing. Per 1 ton of seed used 100 g of boron, 120 g of zinc, 180 g of manganese, 300 g of copper, as well as up to 750 g of sodium humate.

Lime is applied to acidic soils. 

Fertilizer rates are determined by removal of nutrients with the yield or an increase in yield using adjustment factors for mobile phosphorus – 0.5-0.7, for exchangeable potassium – 0.6-0.8, nitrogen – 0.7-0.8 (in the Non-Black Soil zone – 0.5) based on agrochemical studies of the soil.

Tillage system

In most regions of Russia, early autumn plowing with plows with skimmers to a depth of 20-22 cm is usually used. On heavy and overwatered soils, an additional chiseling at a depth of 40-50 cm is carried out. After stubble predecessors before plowing stubble discing is carried out. On heavily infested rhizomatous weeds sod-podzolic and gray forest soils of the European part of Russia spend several treatments with disk implements.

On chernozem soils of the steppe zone preference is given to heavy cultivators with spring working tools. Treatment is carried out at a depth of 10-12 cm, followed by plowing with skimmers to a depth of 25-30 cm. When root weeds are spread, the first treatment is carried out by disc-tillers with spherical discs. After row crops, deep plowing with a plough or surface treatment with heavy disc harrows is carried out.

In regions with the risk of wind erosion, flat-cut tillage is used. Soils with heavy granulometric composition are cultivated to a depth of 25-27 cm, light soils – to a depth of 12-14 cm, saline and compacted soils – by chiseling. To prevent the development of water erosion treatments are carried out across the slope, additionally carried out slitting. 

Spring barley is responsive to deep autumn tillage. In the Poltava region of Ukraine, deep tillage up to 30 cm resulted in yield increase of 0.28 t/ha compared with conventional plowing. Deepening of the plowing layer on sod-podzolic soils with the simultaneous introduction of manure and mineral fertilizers gives a good result.

On plots intended for sowing spring barley in winter and spring period snow retention is applied.

Spring tillage consists of harrowing or leveling after autumn tillage. Early spring tillage is carried out with heavy toothed harrows. At flat-cutting autumn tillage – in spring needle harrows are used. Pre-sowing cultivation is carried out to the depth of seed sowing (5-7 cm) with subsequent harrowing; at that on plowing – with ordinary or beet cultivators, at flat-cutting – with anti-erosion cultivators.


Seed preparation

Large seeds with a germination rate of at least 80% are used for sowing. Weight of 1000 pieces of seeds is not less than 40 g.

A method to increase the yield is air-heating of seeds, which gives an increase of 0.1-0.2 t/ha.

Dry or semi-dry methods are used for seed dressing against smut, helminthosporiosis and root rot. For seed dressing of membranous barley, 150 grams of Granozan (100 grams for bare-grained barley) with dye or 200 grams of Mercurbenzene are spent per 100 kg of seeds. 250-300 grams of Vitavax is used for dressing against dusty mildew.

For seed dressing against diseases we use:

  • dusty smut – Divide Star (30 g/l diphenoconazole + 6.3 g/l ciproconazole), Colfugo Super (200 g/l carbendazim), Vitavax (375 g/kg carboxin + 375 g/kg tyram), Ferazim (500 g/l carbendazim), Fenoram Super (470 g/kg carboxin + 230 g/kg thiram), Vitaros (198 g/kg carboxin + 198 g/kg thiram), Baytan Universal (150 g/kg triadimenol + 25 g/kg imazalil + 20 g/kg fuberidazole), Raxil (500 g/kg tyram + 15 g/kg tebuconazole), Agat-25K (titer 50-80 bln before inactivation), Premis Two hundred (200 g/l triticonazole), Vincit Forte (37.5 g/l flutriafol + 25 g/l thiabevdazole + 15 g/l flutriafol);
  • hard (stone) smut – Divide Star (30 g/l diphenoconazole + 6.3 g/l ciproconazole), Colfugo Super (200 g/l carbendazim), Colfugo Duplet (200 g/l carbendazim + 170 g/l carboxin), Vitavax (375 g/kg carboxin + 375 g/kg thiram), Ferazim (500 g/l carbendazim), Fenoram Super (470 g/kg carboxin + 230 g/kg thiram), Baytan Universal (150 g/kg triadimenol + 25 g/kg imazalil + 20 g/kg fuberidazole), Raxil (500 g/kg tyram + 15 g/kg tebuconazole), Vincit Forte (37, 5 g/l flutriafol + 25 g/l tiaberidazole + 15 g/l flutriafol), Agat-25K (titer 50-80 bln before inactivation), Premis Two hundred (200 g/l triticonazole);
  • black smut – Divided Star (30 g/l diphenoconazole + 6.3 g/l ciproconazole), Vitavax (375 g/kg carboxin + 375 g/kg thiram), Fenoram Super (470 g/kg carboxin + 230 g/kg thiram), Vitaros (198 g/kg carboxin + 198 g/kg thiram);
  • stripe spot disease – Divided Star (30 g/l diphenoconazole + 6.3 g/l cyproconazole);
  • reticular spot disease – Divide Star (30 g/l diphenoconazole + 6.3 g/l ciproconazole), Baytan Universal (150 g/kg triadimenol + 25 g/kg imazalil + 20 g/kg fuberidazole), Premis Two hundred (200 g/l triticonazole), Vincit Forte (37.5 g/l flutriafol + 25 g/l thiabevdazole + 15 g/l flutriafol);
  • Helminthosporium root rot – Divide Star (30 g/l diphenoconazole + 6.3 g/l ciproconazole), Colfugo Super (200 g/l carbendazim), Colfugo Duplet (200 g/l carbendazim + 170 g/l carboxin), Vitavax (375 g/kg carboxin + 375 g/kg thiram), Fenoram Super (470 g/kg carboxin + 230 g/kg thiram), Vitaros (198 g/kg carboxin + 198 g/kg thiram), Baytan Universal (150 g/kg triadimenol + 25 g/kg imazalil + 20 g/kg fuberidazole), Raxil (500 g/kg tyram + 15 g/kg tebuconazole), Premis Two hundred (200 g/kg triticonazole), Vincit Forte (37, 5 g/l flutriafol + 25 g/l tiabevdazole + 15 g/l flutriafol), Fitosporin-M (Bacllus subtilis strain 26D, titer at least 2 billion live cells and spores/g), Agat-25K (titer 50-80 billion before inactivation);
  • Fusarium root rot – Divide Star (30 g/l diphenoconazole + 6.3 g/l ciproconazole), Colfugo Super (200 g/l carbendazim), Colfugo Duplet (200 g/l carbendazim + 170 g/l carboxin), Vitavax (375 g/kg carboxin + 375 g/kg tyram), Ferazim (500 g/l carbendazim), Fenoram Super (470 g/kg carboxin + 230 g/kg tyram), Vitaros (198 g/kg carboxin + 198 g/kg thiram), Baytan Universal (150 g/kg triadimenol + 25 g/kg imazalil + 20 g/kg fuberidazole), Raxil (500 g/kg thiram + 15 g/kg tebuconazole), Vincit Forte (37.5 g/l flutriafol + 25 g/l tiabevdazole + 15 g/l flutriafol), Agat-25K (titer 50-80 bln before inactivation), Premis Two hundred (200 g/l triticonazole);
  • seed mold – Dividend Star (30 g/l diphenoconazole + 6.3 g/l ciproconazole), Vitaros (198 g/kg carboxin + 198 g/l tiram), Baytan Universal (150 g/kg triadimenol + 25 g/kg imazalil + 20 g/kg fuberidazole), Premis Two hundred (200 g/kg triticonazole), Vitaros (198 g/kg carboxin + 198 g/kg thiram), Vincit Forte (37.5 g/kg flutriafol + 25 g/kg thiabewdazole + 15 g/kg flutriafol);
  • powdery mildew – Divident Star (30 g/l diphenoconazole + 6.3 g/l ciproconazole), Baytan Universal (150 g/kg triadimenol + 25 g/kg imazalil + 20 g/kg fuberidazole);
  • root rot – Colfugo Super (200 g/l carbendazim), Colfugo Duplet (200 g/l carbendazim + 170 g/l carboxin), Ruxil (500 g/l tyram + 15 g/l tebuconazole);
  • cercosporrelosis – Colfugo Super (200 g/l carbendazim), Ferazim (500 g/l carbendazim);
  • dark brown spot – Colfugo Duplet (200 g/l carbendazim + 170 g/l carboxin);
  • septoriosis – Vincit Forte (37.5 g/l flutriafol + 25 g/l thiabewdazole + 15 g/l flutriafol);
  • root rot – Planriz (titer not less than 2 bln).

Timing of sowing

Spring barley is one of the crops with the earliest sowing dates.

In the Southeast, a 7-day delay in sowing leads to a 30-40% decrease in yields, in the Central Black Earth zone – by 25-35%, in the Non-Black Earth zone – by 10-15%. Early sowing allows for larger grains with less film content, the sprouts are less damaged by the Swedish fly.

In the European part of Russia, sowing is started when the soil is in a state of physical ripeness.

Sowing of spring barley is carried out simultaneously with sowing of spring wheat or immediately after it. In Siberia and northern Kazakhstan, the optimal sowing date is May 15-25. In the Asian part of Russia, sowing usually occurs on May 20-30, and oriented to the phase of tillering during the summer rains.

In the Kuban, Crimea and Central Asian countries, February (winter) sowings are typical. For example, in Krasnodar Krai, when sown in February, yields averaged 2.2 t/ha.

Sowing methods

For sowing spring barley, the narrow-row or cross-row methods are used.

In the Kharkiv region of Ukraine with the narrow-row method of sowing the increase was 0.4 t/ha. In the experiments of the Perm Agricultural Institute on average for two years, the usual row method yielded 2.15 t/ha of grain, while the narrow-row method yielded 2.44 t/ha.

When sowing, it is recommended to leave a technological track for subsequent tillage, especially when using intensive cultivation technologies. The technological track is made, for example, with one closed coulter in a three-sowing machine. 

Seeding rates

Seeding rates depend on the area of cultivation:

  • in the Non-Black Soil zone – 5.5-6 million/ha of germinated seeds or 240 kg/ha;
  • in the Central Black Earth zone – 5-6 million/ha of germinated seeds or 180-200 kg/ha;
  • in the south-east of Russia – 3-4 mln germinated seeds or 100-140 kg/ha;
  • in the North Caucasus – 3.5-4.5 mln/ha of germinated seeds or 130-160 kg/ha;
  • in Siberia and the Far East – 4.5-6 million germinated seeds or 160-200 kg/ha;
  • in Ukraine – 3.5-4.5 million germinated seeds or 120-160 kg/ha.

Approximate rates are specified depending on local soil and agrotechnical conditions. Minimum rates are set in the presence of favorable conditions. Thickened crops in the cultivation of malting barley lead to a decrease in the protein content in the grain.

Sowing depth

Seeding depth on heavy clay soils is 3-4 cm, on light loamy – 5-6 cm, in dry years and in conditions of rapid drying of the sowing layer – 6-8 cm.

Due to the fact that disc coulters of seed drills are blocked in wet soil, the use of anchor coulters allows you to start sowing somewhat earlier. Their use allows a more uniform sowing of seeds. Grain, narrow-row and stubble seeders can also be used for sowing, depending on soil and climatic conditions.

The barley seeds sown swell slowly, so they must be sown in a moist, slightly compacted layer of soil.

Crop care

Crop care techniques include post-sowing rolling, harrowing, protection of plants from weeds, diseases and pests.

To ensure uniform sprouts, improve thermal and water regimes, in dry conditions, post-sowing packing with simultaneous light harrowing, or in aggregate with seeders at sowing (in wet soil, so that the soil does not stick to the rollers – a day after sowing) is carried out.

In moist areas, heavy soils are harrowed on sprouts which helps to kill weeds, loosen the soil and increase aeration of the upper layer. After heavy rains before the emergence of seedlings with formation of soil crust, harrowing is carried out to destroy it.

To control weeds we use 2.4-D amine salt herbicide at the rate of 0.6-1.0 kg/ha a.s. Treatment with herbicides is carried out in phases of full tillering – the beginning of the emergence of a tube. According to experiments of the plant-growing laboratory of the Moscow Agricultural Academy herbicide treatment in barley crops destroys up to 98% of weeds, the yield increases from 1.86 to 2.12 t/ha.

In the phase of tillering it is recommended to harrow the crops for mechanical control of weeds and for destruction of soil crust.

Pesticides are applied by ground sprayers or by aircraft. Consumption rate of the working fluid is respectively 200-300 t/ha or 50 l/ha.

Plant protection system

Allowed preparations for disease control

To control spring barley diseases the following preparations are used:

  • brown rust – Impact (125 or 250 g/l flutriafol), Rex Duo (310 g/l thiophanate-methyl + 187 g/l epoxiconazole);
  • stem rust – Impact (125 or 250 g/l flutriafol), Rex Duo (310 g/l thiophanate-methyl + 187 g/l epoxiconazole);
  • yellow rust – Impact (125 or 250 g/l flutriafol);
  • yellow spot – Rex Duo (310 g/l thiophanate-methyl + 187 g/l epoxiconazole);
  • powdery mildew – Impact (125 or 250 g/l flutriafol), Alto (400 g/l ciproconazole), Rex Duo (310 g/l thiophanate-methyl + 187 g/l epoxiconazole), Bayleton (250 g/kg), Tilt (250 g/l propiconazole)
  • septoriosis – Impact (125 or 250 g/l flutriafol), Rex Duo (310 g/l thiophanate-methyl + 187 g/l epoxiconazole);
  • septoriosis spot disease – Rex Duo (310 g/l thiophanate-methyl + 187 g/l epoxiconazole), Bayleton (250 g/kg), ;
  • fusarium ear disease – Impact (125 or 250 g/l flutriafol);
  • reticular spot disease – Impact (125 or 250 g/l flutriafol), Alto (400 g/l ciproconazole), Tilt (250 g/l propiconazole);
  • Fusarium spot disease – Rex Duo (310 g/l thiophanate-methyl + 187 g/l epoxiconazole);
  • Helminthosporium spot disease – Alto (400 g/l ciproconazole);
  • rust – Alto (400 g/l ciproconazole), Bayleton (250 g/kg), Tilt (250 g/l propiconazole);
  • rhinchosporiosis – Alto (400 g/l ciproconazole).


Ripening of spring barley is usually uniform. With the onset of full ripeness the ear becomes brittle and drooping, the grain easily crumbles.

The two-phase harvesting method is used from the middle of ripeness when the moisture content of grain is 28-30%, and ends at a moisture content of 20-22%. Delayed threshing of swaths is not recommended more than 5-6 days. Single-phase method is used at full ripeness and grain moisture 15-17% on the low cut in a short time.

On the threshing floor separately form homogeneous batches according to the quality of grain of forage and brewing varieties.

Peculiarities of malting barley cultivation

Two-row barley varieties are used for brewing because they produce large, evenly sprouted grains. The filmy varieties are the most suitable because the films help to clarify the beer during filtration.

The barley grain for brewing must have a mass of 40-45 grams per 1,000 grains, be finely filmy (no more than 9%), have a straw-yellow color and a germination energy of at least 95%, and contain more than 78% starch. There was an opinion that only grains with low protein content were suitable for brewing, but it has been established that it is not the content but the quality of the proteins that matters most. Studies have shown that the best results come from barley which contains high-molecular-weight proteins – globulins and prolamines, which are not water-soluble. Non-protein nitrogen and albumin nitrogen have a negative impact on beer quality.

The best predecessors for malting barley in the crop rotation are winter cereals, corn, potatoes, sugar beet and flax.

The earliest sowing dates are optimal for obtaining a high yield of uniform, large grains with a high starch content and a low filminess.

Fertilizer rates are determined taking into account the planned yield, the removal of nutrients and their content in the soil.

Optimal methods of sowing – narrow-row and cross-row.

A good result gives a post-sowing rolling, in case of strong soil compaction or crust formation – harrowing of crops. These methods contribute to the formation of homogeneity of plants in the crops and the alignment of the grain. Fitting in the barley crops for brewing is undesirable, since the resulting grain is shallower and of poor technical quality.

The single-phase harvesting method is used at full ripeness with a moisture content of 22% or less using two-drum harvesters. In the southern regions more often use the two-phase method of harvesting.

Over-ripening of barley leads to a decrease in starch content due to increased respiration. Excessive moisture and low air temperatures at full grain ripeness have a negative effect on the viability of seeds of later harvesting dates.

After threshing, the grain is sorted and dried, which ensures high germination energy and preservation of light color.

Resource-saving intensive cultivation technology

Resource-saving intensive technology of spring wheat cultivation provides efficient use of resources, compliance with environmental production and application of the achievements of science and world practice. Spring wheat in accordance with this technology is planted on the best moisture-sufficient predecessors, a set of measures for moisture accumulation in the soil and its rational use, provide a balanced content of nutrients in the soil and carry out integrated plant protection from diseases, pests and weeds with an emphasis on agricultural, biological methods of plant protection.

Resource saving – one of the main requirements of technology, along with the rational use of equipment and compliance with technological discipline. Intensive technology provides receiving 2.0-2.2 t / ha of high-quality grain on bare fallow and 1.5-1.8 t/ha of other predecessors.

A requirement of intensive technology is also agrochemical and phytosanitary inspection of fields with the preparation of a field passport.

In Kurgan region with the use of intensive technology the yield of spring wheat was 2.9 t/ha, in the experimental farm of the Siberian Research Institute of Agriculture “Novouralskoye” – 2.0 t/ha.


Crop production/P.P. Vavilov, V.V. Gritsenko, V.S. Kuznetsov, et al. Gritsenko, V.S. Kuznetsov, etc.; Edited by P.P. Vavilov. – M.: Agropromizdat, 1986. – 512 p.: ill. – (Textbook and textbooks for higher education institutions).

V.V. Kolomeychenko. Horticulture/Textbook. – Moscow: Agrobiznesentr, 2007. – 600 с. ISBN 978-5-902792-11-6.

Fundamentals of agricultural production technology. Farming and plant growing. Ed. by V.S. Niklyaev. – Moscow: “Bylina”. 2000. – 555 с.