Barley

  • Barley is a cereal crop.
  • It is a strain of grass that is cultivated and harvested for it’s grain.
  • There are many different varieties of barley, some are sown in the Spring and some in the Autumn.
  • Spring sown barley is known as Spring barley and is harvested in early August.
  • Autumn sown barley is known as Winter barley and is harvested in mid July.
  • Winter barley is higher yielding than Spring barley. 
  • Barley is grown for it’s high food value for animals.
  • The energy content of barley is lower than that of wheat.
  • An ear of barley has long spikes on it known as awns.
  • When the barley crop is ripe the ear points towards the ground.
  • A barley ear contains an average of 30 grains.
  • Barley is used mainly for malting and as animal feed.
  • Malting is the process where barley grain is germinated, converting the starch into maltose sugar.
  • This sugar is then used in brewing and distilling to produce alcohol.
  • Barley used for malting must be low in protein. The grower achieves this by controlling nitrogen fertiliser input.
  • High protein barley is used as animal feed for pigs and cattle.
  • Barley used for human consumption is dehusked to get rid of the fibre and sold as pearl barley or as a breakfast cereal.

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