On the cultivation of barley

| Production & Resources |

Adequately chosen proportions of fertilizers may protect the cereal from drought, diseases and too rapid growth. It is therefore a good idea to plan the sowing and the fertilization well in advance, so as to avoid problems that arise when the ears of corn appear or during the harvest season.

Barley is one of the most commonly cultivated plants in the world. It is relatively resistant to difficult climatic conditions, scant rainfall and high temperatures. The resilience of the cereal does not mean that the farmers may just ignore the plant and count on it to cope. Fertilization and sowing methods as well as the type of care of the plant depend on the kind of barley cultivated: fodder of malting.’

Fodder barley and malting barley

Agricultural manufacturers who choose to sow malting barley need to remember that this kind of cereal is more demanding. Malting barley requires the choice of even grains, with high starch content and low protein content (about 12%). Those parameters may be modified easily during the soil preparation and sowing itself. Consequently, sowing and fertilization ought to be done with special care. The quality of the yield may be compromised drastically if too little or too much fertilizer is applied.

Principles of appropriate sowing

It is best to sow barley on soil with neutral pH, and on farmland where other cereals or fodder crops have been cultivated before. Spring barney, especially fodder barley, should be sown as early as possible. Depending on the region on Poland, the sowing of spring barley is done from mid-March to mid-April, while the winter barley is sown from 1 to 15 October. In the case of malting barley, fertilization before the sowing is recommended because it helps to reduce the protein content in the grains.

Fertilizing barley

110 kilograms of nitrogen need to be used per 5 tonnes of fodder barley. The recommended quantity is smaller for malting barley. If fertilized excessively, this kind of cereal develops too high protein content, which is undesirable. Potassium and phosphorous need to be used should the soil be deficient in those elements. Lime with magnesium ought to be supplemented provided that the soil is lacking magnesium. Malting barley needs smaller amounts of nitrogen, but higher dosages of phosphorous and potassium. Potassium makes the plant more resistant to premature growth, drought, and diseases. Fertilization with nitrogen should be done gradually, with the total amount divided into two or more parts. The element is not washed out from the soil, and therefore unique application is less efficient. Nitrogen needs to be applied 7-10 days before the sowing, while the next part is required when plants start to grow.