Get complete knowledge about Barley Crop

Barley crop is an important cereal crop in the world with an annual production of around 136 million tonnes, ranking next to rice, maize and wheat. It is one of the earliest domesticated food crops since the dawn of civilization. In India it is an important winter season (rabi) cereal crop grown in Punjab, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. It is grown in our country in 0.63 million ha with a production of 1.20 million tonnes and an average productivity of 1.94 tonnes/ha. Barley is hardier than wheat and is inherently equipped to adapt itself admirably well under limited inputs and marginal lands.

Barley crop

Barley grain has the largest use as animal feed all over the world and in India also a major share of barley grain is used as animal feed either alone or in combination. As a fodder crop, barley crop’ has tremendous potential and variation for production of very high amount of digestible dry matter as well as protein yield per hectare.

Hull-less barley grain is preferred for chapati making as well as lugri a fermented drink, in the northern hills. A limited portion of produce is consumed as parched grain to make sattu. Hulled types are used by the malting industry, because of specific requirements during grain germination. About 0.25 million tonnes barley is used by the malting industries in the country for the preparation of beer, whisky and other products, viz. industrial alcohol and vinegar.

Barley crop

Malt syrup is utilized in the preparation of candies, breakfast beverages and medicines. By-product of brewing and distilling industry, known as ‘brewers’ and ‘distillers grain’ is useful as cattle feed. Bold and plump-seeded barley varieties are suitable for manufacture of ‘pearl barley’ and powder products, which form the diet of the sick and convalescent people. Pearl barley is used for barley water, which is diuretic and is given to persons suffering from kidney disorders.

Scientific classification of barley crop

 Kingdom  Plantae
 Family  Poaceae
 Subfamily  Pooideae
Genus  Hordeum L.
 Spices  H. vulgare
 Scientific Name Hordeum vulgare


Over the past 2 decades the barley crop” area in the country has dropped from 2.9 million ha to 0.6 million ha. The production has shown a decline from 3.1 million tonnes to 1.2 million tonnes during this period. However, the average yield showed an increase from 1,200 kg/ha to 1,938 kg ha, because of the impact of high-yielding varieties developed in the country. The great reduction in the barley area in the country was owing to the change in the preference of farmers for the cultivation of wheat and other remunerative winter (rabi) crops, e. g. Brassica spp. and gram. Barley crop areas with sufficient available irrigation were diverted to wheat, whereas the rainfed areas were covered by mustard and gram.

Barley crop is grown chiefly in the northern plains and bills but over the years its cultivation to some extent has extended to non-traditional peninsular region in Kamataka, Maharashtra and Gujarat. Its cultivation extends up to an elevation of 4, 575 m (15,000 feet) in the Himalayas. Its greatest concentration is in Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, where it accounts for 34.1, 32.0 and 12.3%, respectively, of the total area in the country. Haryana, Punjab, Bihar and Jharkhand cultivate nearly 10% of the total area. It is also grown in Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Jammu and Kashmir occupying 90% of the total area. In the plains of southern India, it has been recently introduced for commercial cultivation as an industrial crop for malting and brewing. It is a crop of minor importance in south of 20°N latitude, although it can be grown successfully where wheat can be grown. In this region it occupies small areas in Kamataka (north) and the Nilgiris and Palni hills of Tamil Nadu.

The highest average yield of 3.3 tonnes/ha obtained in Punjab is above the world average of 2.5 tonnes/ha. Haryana, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh are the next, with average yields of 2.8, 2.4 and 1.9 tonnes/ha respectively. Experiments conducted in the non-traditional areas of Tamil Nadu, Kamataka and Maharashtra revealed the possibility of successful cultivation of barley crop in the cooler regions with yields over 4 tonnes/ha. Its adaptation to coastal saline areas of West Bengal, which traditionally grew 1 crop of paddy, has been well established.

About 80% of the “barley crop” area in the country is grown under limited irrigation owing to its more successful cultivation than that of other rabi cereals, under brackishwater, saline-alkaline soils and late-sown conditions (in diam lands). Six-rowed hulled and some hull-less barleys are generally cultivated in the country. It is only on higher altitudes where barley is used for food that 6-rowed hull-less types are preferred for cultivation. In very high altitudes in Leh and Kargil with cool arid climate, it is grown in summer. With the growing demand from malting industry, the introduction, breeding and release of some 2-rowed improved barleys has created considerable interest towards their cultivation. The 2-row types are preferred for malting because of their bold, plump grains, uniform germination, higher malt extract and other desirable traits.


Barley crop is a crop of temperate climate, like wheat and it thrives best in areas having cool dry winters with low rainfall. The growing period in the plains lasts for about 5 months, which may extend up to 6-7 months in the medium to higher hills (1,500-2,500 m elevation). The crop can withstand cool humid and warm dry climates, but hot humid climate disfavours its growth, mainly due to prevalence of diseases. In the plains of eastern, central and peninsular India, where the winters are mild, the growing period is reduced to 3-4 months.

In any given region, barley matures 2-3 weeks earlier than that of wheat and other rabi cereals, indicating its lower requirement of heat to reach maturity and thus it is also inherently equipped to escape drought. There are Varietal differences for adaptation to drought and irrigation requirement of barley. Frost at flowering and hailstorms at the complete grain development stage damage the crop. Rains at the maturity cause discoloration of the grains, thus rendering them unfit for malting.

Uninterrupted growth of the crop can give normal bold, plump, mealy grains, fit for malting. Intermittent drought during the growth period results in premature ripening with high nitrogen content and shrivelled grains unfit for malting. Uniform moisture supply and bright sunshine at the ripening are important for the production of clean bright kernels required by the malting industry.


Barley crop thrives best on well-drained fertile loam or light clay-soils. Heavier clay loams are undesirable, if waterlogged. Severe lodging occurs on highly fertile soils with excess of nitrogen, which in turn also increases the nitrogen content in the grain, rendering it unsuitable for malting. In India, barley is grown on a wide variety of soils ranging in texture from sandy to heavy loams in the Indo-Gangetic plains and on the terraced slopes in the hills. Its cultivation also extends to a limited extent on the black soils of Kamataka.

‘Barley crop’ is more tolerant to a saline-alkaline soils and less to acidic soils when compared with other cereals. It is more favoured under these conditions in Rajasthan, Haryana, Punjab, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. It was found to be a successful crop on coastal saline soils of Sunderbans in the West Bengal.

Crop rotations

Crop rotations depend largely on the advantages offered by the crop. Its crop rotations are similar to that of wheat but no exact rotations are generally followed year after year. It is generally grown in rotation with pearl millet (bajra), maize, rice, cotton, groundnut, greengram and moth bean in different parts of the country. Researches have shown the possibility of double cropping in dryland areas by growing short-duration (60-65 days) fodder legumes (cowpea, clusterbean etc.) during rainy (kharif) season, followed by the dryland crop of barley. Benefit from preceding fodder legume is equivalent to 40 kg N/ha applied to barley crop grown after the previous non-legume crop of pearl millet. Double cropping with barley is practised under assured soil moisture.

Barley crop

The role of continuous crop cover on saline soils to keep the salinity away is well established. Under saline-cum-shallow water-table conditions, a crop rotation with rice barley-cowpea (fodder) is highly profitable in keeping the surface salinity under control. On soils infested with nematodes, rotation of barley with nonhost crops, e.g. sunflower, for at least 1 to 2 years would reduce the nematode population. At higher elevations, wherever barley crop is harvested by July-August, an early-maturing buckwheat is grown as a second crop. In Kashmir valley, paddy is the main kharif crop and the fields remain fallow during rabi. Barley can fit well in rotation with paddy in this region. Due to its extreme adaptation and inherently hardier nature. barley can be grown in mixture with other rabi crops, e.g. wheat, gram, peas and lentil, thus it provides insurance cover under rainfed conditions.

Sowing time

Barley crop can be grown under a wide range of sowing dates determined by differences in latitude, altitude, climatic conditions and cropping systems. It is the only cereal whose cultivation extends to northern latitudes at 70° N (Norway) and at latitudes up to 5,000 m in the cool arid regions of the Himalayas. As barley requires lesser units of heat to reach its physiological maturity, its cultivation extends to high altitudes where the summers are too cool for the cultivation of rice and maize and too short for the cultivation of wheat and oats.

In the plains and up to elevation of 2,300 m in the hills, it is grown as a rabi crop. The normal sowing time extends from middle of October to end of November, depending upon the elevation, temperature, soil type and moisture status. Under irrigated timely sown conditions, barley has an additional niche in areas with saline water for irrigation. Delayed sowings lead to considerable reduction in grain yield and production of poor-quality grains, unfit for malting. Under rainfed conditions, sowing should be completed by the last week of October, when the mean temperature falls to 23° to 25°C. Sowing should be so timed as to ensure the maximum use of conserved soil moisture as well as to avoid high temperature. Before this time, high temperatures can lead to etiolation and seedling mortality.

Under irrigated conditions the ideal time for barley crop sowing is from first to third week of November. Delay in sowing beyond this time, leads to decline in grain yield through reduction in tiller number and grain weight per spike. It also raises the protein content of the grain, thereby adversely affecting the malting quality. As it is a short-duration crop, with the availability of early-maturing varieties, it can be grown successfully under late-sown conditions to fit into cropping patterns, particularly after very late harvest of the preceding crops, viz. paddy, cotton and potato, up to the end of December to first week of January.

It is possible for barley crop in the plains of Bihar, eastern Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and West Bengal. At elevations above 2,300 m, barley is grown as an irrigated crop in spring season. The sowing time extends from the end of April to the end of May, depending on factors, viz. the time of melting of snow from the fields, suitable soil temperature to ensure good germination and stand and availability of irrigation water. In the Nilgiris and Palni hills of Tamil Nadu, it can be grown all the year round. It is sown either in May-June or August-October, depending on the altitude and pattern of rainfall. In the non-traditional hilly areas of North Arcot district of Tamil Nadu with elevation of 600-700 m above mean sea-level, successful crop of barley has been possible during mid-November to mid-February with suitable varieties under irrigation.

Cultivation practices

Cultivation practices for barley are similar to those of wheat, but requiring less inputs. Barley does not require a very fine seed-bed preparation and therefore 1 ploughing with a soil-turning plough, levelling and 1 harrowing are enough for sowing. Levelling helps in uniform distribution of seed, fertilizer and irrigation water. For raising the crop under drylands, soil-moisture conservation after late monsoon showers during middle of August to end of September, becomes essential.

Deep ploughing and discing followed by levelling and bunding should be done after each rain to ensure proper soil moisture for germination and growth under rainfed condition. Under irrigated condition a pre-sowing irrigation is needed to get optimum plant stand. To protect the crop against white ants and soil-borne pests, seed treatment with Chlorpyriphos @ 4.5 ml/kg seed and the seed should be dried overnight prior to sowing, before the last discing. Saline-alkali lands having very shallow ground water-table (1.5 m from ground level) pose a problem of surface salinity.

HSuch lands should be ploughed deep, planked and left undisturbed for a week or a fortnight prior to sowing, so that the salts move from lower soil layers to the upper soil zone and the lower layers where seeds and fertilizers are to be placed (root zone) become relatively free from salts. Barley needs a slightly loose seed-bed like wheat. Soils infested with nematodes require 2 to 3 deep summer ploughings to reduce their populations. Crop rotations may be adjusted in such a manner that the nematode-infested soils are not cultivated with any cereal for 3 years.

Seed treatment and disease and pest control: Disease-free crops of barley can be obtained by growing resistant varieties or adopting chemical control measures. Covered smut and loose smut can be controlled by seed treatment with either of Vitavax, Benlate and Bavistin @ 2 g/kg seed before planting. Dry seed treatment with 0.25% Carboxin would control loose smut. Seed treatment with Vitavax and Thiram in 1:1 ratio or Raxil @ 1.5 g/kg seed, should be used to control the covered smut and leaf stripe. Seed treatment with Oxycarboxin 0.25% is recommended for the control of yellow rust. However, good number of improved yellow rust-resistant varieties are now available and can substitute the expensive chemical control.

Powdery mildew caused by Erysiphe graminis inflicts heavy damage to barley crop in sub-humid regions of hills and plains. Infection takes place by ascospores and spreads in the form of white or light gray powdery spots on the leaves and during severe infection other plant parts are also affected. Dusting fine sulphur (200 mesh) @ 15-20 kg/ha or 1% Karathane may effectively control the disease. Sprays and soil drench with a number of fungicides are recommended. Growing of powdery mildewresistant varieties is the economic method to control.

Helminthosporium leaf diseases, caused by the fungus Pyrenophora teres (net blotch), Helminthosporium sorokinianum (spot blotch) and Helminthosporium gramineum (stripe disease) inflict severe damage to barley crop. Net blotch forms scattered, oblong dark brown reticulate blotches on the leaves giving a netted appearance and affects the floral bracts as well.

Spot blotch affects all parts of the plant. Infected seedlings have brown to black lesions progressing upwards with round to oblong shape and coalesce to form blotches; infected leaves dry up and die.

Stripe disease occurs only on barley as a serious disease in India. Stripes originate from infected seedlings first as long pale green colour stripes turning into brown or even dark brown stripes and dry up with no seed formation. Usually all leaves of the infected plants are affected and may split the leaf blade in severe infection. Diseased plants should be rouged. Helminthosporium leaf diseases can be effectively controlled by spraying with copper fungicides or Dithane Z-78. Seed treatment with organomercurials before sowing can contain the infection. Growing of resistant varieties is by far the most economical control measure.

Among the insect pests, aphid (Rhopalosiphum maidis) is the most serious pest of barley. Spray of Methyl demeton 25 EC or Dimethoate 30 EC at 1,000 ml/ha or Imidacloprid 200 SL at 100 ml/ha should be applied in 200-250 litres of water per ha. Systemic granular insecticides, viz. Phorate 10% or Disulfoton 5% should be used in seed furrows @ 0.5 to 1 kg a.i./ha to control the pest. A number of aphid-tolerant varieties of barley are available and these can be used.

Seed rate: Seed rate varies depending on the availability of soil moisture and the extent to which the soil is affected by abiotic stresses at the sowing time. An optimum plant population per unit area is a prerequisite for maximizing the utilization efficiency of different production inputs. Agronomic experiments conducted under the All-India Co-ordinated Barley Improvement Project indicated that a seed rate of 75-80 kg/ha may be used for irrigated timely sown, whereas a seed rate of 100 kg/ha is suitable for irrigated late-sown and saline-alkaline soils. For rainfed areas, a seed rate of 80-100 kg/ha should be used depending on soil-moisture status at the sowing. In the cool arid region of Ladakh a higher seed rate of 250-300 kg/ha may be used. These rates under different conditions will suffice on using healthy seed possessing very high germination percentage. A slightly higher seed rate is needed for bold-seeded varieties than for small-seeded ones.

Method of sowing: Seeds are sown either by broadcasting or with a single-tube drill (pom, magha or sadde). Broadcast method (chhita) is followed in eastern Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and diara lands (after recession of floods). Broadcasting is also sometimes done on dry seed-bed roughed by a single light discing followed by 1 prev emergence irrigation; the practice with least tillage for a hardy crop like barley. The improved method of sowing seeds in rows by using para method or a seed drill ensures uniform seed placement and stand, less lodging and better management of weeds. The suggested spacing between rows is 22-23 cm under irrigated condition and 23-28 cm under rainfed condition. The optimum seed depth for sowing is 3-5 cm under irrigation and 5-8 cm under rainfed condition, depending on the initial soil moisture. In clay soils with tendency to crust, shallow planting is preferable. Deep seeding is detrimental, and it delays and reduces total emergence.

Manuring: Application of fertilizers and manures to barley crop enables proper utilization of available moisture to exploit full yield potential of a variety. However, rainfed crop of barley is seldom manured directly. It is the preceding kharif crop that receives manure. With major shift in the pattern of cultivation towards more remunerative crops over the past 2 decades, very little or no manuring is normally given to coarse cereal crops including barley crop. Under specific situation, viz. poor lands devoid of organic matter, with poor water-holding capacity, introduced to barley use, 10-12 cart-loads of decomposed farmyard manure of compost per hectare may be given.

Nitrogen fertilization is essential for obtaining high yield from barley crop particularly on soils with lower organic matter, following a non-leguminous crop. The responses to nitrogen application will depend on the availability of soil moisture. Agronomic experiments indicate that barley responds well to an application of 40-60 kg N/ha under rainfed condition and 60-80 kg N/ha under irrigated condition, depending on the climate, soil and variety. Application of 20 kg/ha to the crop under dryland farming and 40 kg/ha under irrigated condition gives 2-6 q/ha and 7-9 q/ha more yield, respectively, than the unfertilized crops under the 2 conditions. Good response to phosphorus up to 30 kg/ha was obtained under irrigated condition according to the table below. (Nutrient kg/ha)

 Cropping situation  N  P2O5  K2O
 Irrigated (condition)  60  30  30
 Rainfed (Hills)  40  20  20
 Rainfed (Plains)  30  30  20
 Saline condition  60  30  30
 Irrigated malt barley  80  40  30

To maximize the efficiency of nitrogenous fertilizers under rainfed condition, full amount of nitrogen, similar to that for phosphorus and potassium, Should be placed 8-10 cm deep in the soil at sowing time. Experiments have indicated that if the fertilizers in rainfed barley are placed in furrows 1 month before sowing (just before cessation of monsoon rains) instead of at sowing time, grain yields can be increased by 11% For irrigated barley, split application of nitrogen, i.e. half dose of nitrogen + full dose of P2O5 at sowing time and the remaining half N with the first irrigation as top-dressing, is advantageous. Excess of nitrogen can cause lodging, increase protein content in the grain and adversely affect the malting and brewing quality. Nitrogen fertilization of malting barley is a critical factor, and it should not be done during grain-development stages. In areas with moderately saline (ECe 6-12 mmhos/cm)-cum-shallow water~ table (1.5 m from surface), the entire dose of fertilizer (60 kg N + 30 kg P2O5 + 30 kg K2O/ha) may be placed at 10-20 cm depth at the sowing, for getting maximum grain production when compared with other rabi cereals.

Irrigation schedule: Barley crop is generally grown either on conserved soil moisture from the preceding monsoon season or under restricted irrigation. It responds to irrigation in the drier areas and soils with low moisture-retention capacity. Usually it needs 2-3 irrigations. One or two extra irrigations are needed on sandy soils. Light and frequent irrigations to barley on sandy soils are more advantageous than few heavy irrigations. Waterlogging in the field must be avoided as it causes severe yellowing as well as reduction in tillering.

Barley crop has 3 critical growth stages for irrigation, Viz. active tillering stage (30-35 days after sowing), flag-leaf stage (60-65 days after sowing) and milk stage (80-85 days after sowing). Active tillering stage is the most critical. Depending upon the availability of irrigation water, its efficiency can be increased by proper timing of its applicaton at critical stages of crop growth. If only 1 irrigation is available, it should be applied at active tillering stage. If 2 irrigations are available, one should be applied at active tillering stage and the other at the flowering stage. On saline-alkaline soils, frequent light irrigations give better results than fewer heavy irrigations. ‘

Interculture: Weeds generally pose greater problem in irrigated areas, though barley is known to be a good competitor of weeds. Both broad-leaf weeds (6. g. Chenopodium album) and narrow-leaf weeds (e. g. Phalaris minor and Avena ludoviciana) are common in barley. The weed population also depends on the extent of tillage practices followed prior to sowing of barley crop. To prevent losses from weeds, 1 hand-hoeing after first irrigation is quite useful. The use of weed-free seed and a well-prepared seed-bed are essential for effective control of weeds. Weeds can be controlled by application of suitable weedicides.

A spray application of 2, 4-D @ 0.5 kg a.i./ha in 400 litres of water or Metsulfuron 30-35 days after sowing is effective in controlling the broadleaf weeds. Wild oats and Phalaris minor can be controlled by pre-sowing application of Pendimethalin @ 1.0-1.5 kg a.i./ha on prepared top soil. Isoproturon @ 0.75 kg/ha can also be used as post-emergent weedicide at 30~35 days after sowing for the control of grassy weeds. For the control of complex weed flora 2-4-D and Metsulfuron can be applied as tank mix application with Isoproturon as post-emergent weedicides.

Harvesting, threshing and yield: The harvesting time depends on the total duration of crop in a tract. Harvesting in the plains of Jammu, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and western Uttar Pradesh takes place from third week of March to middle of April. In Madhya Pradesh, southern and eastern Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Orissa and West Bengal it starts 7 to 10 days earlier. In Maharashtra, Gujarat, Kamataka and Tamil Nadu (North Arcot, low hills), it can be harvested by the first week of February.

In the hills, where it is grown in rabi, the harvesting time varies from the end of April to end of May, depending upon the altitude. The spring-sown crop is harvested from the end of July to the end of September. In the Nilgiri and Palni hills in southern India, the summer crop sown in May-June is harvested by September-October. In the highef altitudes of Leh and Kargil in Jammu and Kashmir, a short-duration crop planted in may can be harvested by end of August to first week of September. The method of harvesting is similar to that of wheat. The harvesting is usually done by sickle, when ripe. Barley crop is more prone to shattering than wheat crop.

Therefore to prevent losses from shattering, it is useful to cut the crop in the early hours of morning. Harvest it before it is dead ripe. In the plains the threshing was done by treading the dry produce under the feet of cattle or by running the tractor over the heaps of harvested crop but now the use of the tractor-operated threshers is common. The crop with large areas is also harvested with combine by the more progressive farmers. Special care is needed to ensure least skinning and breaking of barley grain during threshing by adjusting the speed of thresher.

The average yield of rainfed crop ranges between 2,000 and 2,500 kg/ha, whereas that of irrigated crop is twice as much. Under favourable conditions of manuring and management practices, improved varieties are capable of giving grain yield of 5-6 tonnes/ha under irrigated timely sown conditions, from 3 to 3.5 tonnes/ha under late-sown conditions and from 2.5 to 3 tonnes/ha under rainfed conditions.


The grain should be thoroughly dried before storage. The store-rooms, storage-pits or bins should be moisture proof as barley is hygroscopic and should be fumigated to keep away the stored-grain pests. Grains stored with more than 14% moisture become warm and deteriorate and thus become unsuitable for malting.

Grading and marketing

Grading and marketing standards are usually established by the government agencies in each country to provide a method to differentiate the quality and value of the produce. At present there are no commonly recognized standards of quality in the internal market in our country and grading is not strictly practised. However, there are well-set grade requirements for both 6-rowed and 2-rowed barleys in many other parts of the world.

These grades are based on minimum and maximum limits for a number of factors, viz. percentage of healthy bold grains, proportion of damaged kernels, foreign matter, other grains, and the skinned and broken grains. Bold grains free from undesirable factors are preferred for industrial utilization and consumption and fetch a higher premium. There are very well-recognized and well-defined grade standards for good malting-quality barleys. For the manufacture of pearl barley, bright-coloured, bold and plump grains of uniform size of 2-rowed barleys are preferably used.


Barley crop is inherently equipped to produce profuse vegetative growth under limited inputs of fertilizers and irrigation with a remarkable regeneration capacity. It is known to produce fodder/forage of high nutritive quality compared to those of other small grains such as wheat, oats and triticale grown during the rabi season. With the expansion of dairy industry in the country it can supplement the increasing demand for fodder/ feed during the lean periods.

The other green fodder crops during the season are berseem and oats which need frequent irrigations and are not available under water scarcity conditions. Some of the varieties developed under the All-India Co-ordinated Barley Improvement Project (AICBIP) for high grain yield have also the capacity to produce high fodder yields.

Some of the recently developed varieties, namely RD 2035 and RD 2552, have been reported to give green fodder yields of 282 and 268 q/ha with one cut at around 55 days after planting; the ratoon crop produces around 22-23 q/ha of grain yield. Research reports on a number of Indian barleys including Kedar (DL 36) indicate high fodder potential of barley—this variety produced green fodder of 420 q/ha, dry matter yield of 65 q/ha, digestible dry matter yield of 11 q/ha and protein yield of 28 q/ha. Cultivators can take advantage of improved varieties and fodder production technology.


The pearly round fine central starchy endosperm portion obtained by abrasive process (pearling) from the bold plump mealy and uniform white barley grains preferably of 2-row types, is called pearled barley. The pearler consists of abrasive discs that revolve within the perforated cylinder and grind off the hulls and outer layers of the kernel. It is designed to keep the grain turning for uniform removal of the hull, the pericarp and the small portion of endosperm. The machine runs on the batch principle and is automatically controlled. Barley grain is pearled for 2-3 minutes and the material is transferred to a screen to separate the hulls and fine particles.

The partly dehulled grain is cooled and rerun through the same steps. After three pearlings the hull and most of the bran would have been removed. The barley is graded and is branded as pot barley used in dressing, soups and flours. After 5–6 pearlings all the kernal coatings, the embryos and the outer layers of the starchy endosperm are removed and the pearly (rounded) product is marketed as pearl barley. Byproducts of the pearling process include the ground roughages and the flour. The flour is put to various human uses and the rest of the ground materials can be used for animal feed. Pearled barley can be used for making powdered products and barley water valued for diuretic and convalescent people.


For malting, fully matured, healthy, medium-size, plump, uniform, mellow grains free from cuts and blemishes and possessing a bright golden colour with 100% viability, and with a nitrogen content less than 200 preferably between 1.2 and 1.4% on dryweight basis, are regarded suitable. The proper choice of a variety is the single most important criterion, followed by special management practices essential for producing good-malting quality barley. Although it is hard to get perfect grain, it is important to understand the major factors in the selection of barleys for good malting and brewing qualities. There are a number of important parameters of barley grain and malt that influence the malting and brewing qualities.

The national core group on malt barley deveIopment (NCGMBD) under the auspices of the Directorate of Wheat Research (ICAR), Kamal, gave guidelines on selection of good-malting quality barley based on grain and malt parameters for 6-rowed and 2-rowed types. These guidelines were revised during the 43 Annual Meeting of the AICW&BIP held at IARI, New Delhi during August 2004, with minor changes. As most of the barley varieties grown in India are of 6-r0wed type, and their grain-yield levels are higher than those of available 2-rowed types, cultivators cannot afford to sacrifice on yield unless paid a premium for 2-rowed types. The recently developed 2-rowed varieties like DWR 28 have bridged

the yield gap between the 2-rowed malt type and 6-rowed grain barleys to a great extent. The specified limits for barley grain and major malt parameters are given here. These parameters for 2-rowed types are also more or less similar to those of the 6rowed for a majority of the traits except kernel size on 2.5 mm (90%), LOGO-kernel weight (> 45 g) and protein content (9.0-11%, db).

The malting quality parameters for 6-rowed and 2-rowed barleys are mostly similar except protein, malt extract and diastatic power. Although the barley ‘grain’ and ‘malt’ factors are varietal features, the proper choice of a variety and follow up of special management procedures are essential for producing good malting barley. No specific varieties were grown in the country for malting in the past and the commercial 6rowed types with bold plump kernels were preferred. The southern Haryana, northern Rajasthan and adjoining areas of western Uttar Pradesh and southern-Punjab with relatively cool dry climate, sandy soils, shorter vegetative phase and availability of longer cool period for grain filling are considered suitable for malt barley production. . The work on varietal improvement for malting has been intensified under the All India Co-ordinated Wheat and Barley Improvement Project, DWR, Kamal (ICAR). A number of 6-rowed and a few 2-rowed barleys have also been released for malting

purpose. Some of the major production practices for realizing high grain yield and good malting quality are given here for use of the cultivators. Sowing the crop at the optimum time for tract (from the end of October to mid-November) assures fully ripe and well-developed grains. With delayed sowing, drought, diseases, or premature harvesting, the grains are likely to become steely and unfit for malting. The choice of an extremely fertile soil or excessive application of nitrogenous fertilizers to the crop should be avoided, since lodging may occur and the content of husk and protein in the grain may increase.

Time of application of nitrogen is a critical factor for malting barley and half of the recommended N dose should be applied at the time of planting along with P and K and remaining half at first irrigation. Nitrogen application should not be done during grain-development stages. For better grain yield and malting quality, an application of 80 kg N+4O kg P2O5+20 kg K2O/ha was found to be adequate in the north-western plains where the grain protein remains under desirable limits. The requirement of K2O will depend on the soil-test value. Extreme care should be taken during harvesting, processing and storing of the grains to avoid skinning and breaking.


For realizing maximum grain yields, the selection of a proper variety for a given region is of paramount importance. The All-India Co-ordinated Research Project on “Barley crop” Improvement presently AICW&BIP, DWR, Kamal has since its inception devoted efforts to develop improved varieties for human consumption (hull-less), dualpurpose fodder-cum-grain types for animal (feed or fodder), and 2-rowed and 6-rowed hulled types for malting and brewing industry. It is interesting to note that the 2-row malting barley, namely, DWR 28 has been reported to be giving comparable yields with those of the good malting 6-row varieties. This is an encouraging feature for barley cultivators and the malting industry in the country. Nevertheless, adequate attention has been paid to breed for genetic resistance to important diseases and abiotic stresses, viz. salinity-alkalinity, in some of the newly improved varieties.

HBL 56 an Indian barley crop was released by Nepal Government for the country. Keeping in view the national priorities, rapid progress has since been made in the development of semi-dwarf and medium-tall varieties capable of giving 5-6 tonnes grain/ha with moderate levels of fertility and irrigation. Varieties are now available to cater to almost all the plains and hill zones of the country. Barley improvement in this country has witnessed a kind of significant advance in terms of reconstruction of a plant type responsive to inputs, with yield potential of 5-6 tonnes/ha.

Quantum jumps in future barley yields can be expected with the exploitation of high heterosis available in this crop. There is optimism with the existence of a viable, practically feasible and economical hybrid production mechanism the CMS -Restorer system already reported and also used with some degree of success under the AICBIP, for exploitation of hybrid vigour.


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