Barley - introduction
Barley is the one with the beard
It is an easily identified crop and very common. Most of it is used for
animal feedstuffs or for brewing although a little pearl-barley is welcome
in soups and broth. One of the old names for barley was bere which,
with a trifling change of spelling, has become the name of it's major product.
Barley has two quality types:
- Malting. This is measured by the amount of malt extract produced when
malted. It is determined largely by variety. More details
- Feed. Used for animal feed.
- The protein level is less in barley than wheat and the energy is less.
However it can be fed at high level to stock because the gluten is weak
making it easy to eat without it turning to a thick jaw-aching glue.
- It has a straw with better feeding quality than wheat, and is softer
and more absorbant for bedding.
Two growing season types:
- Winter barley. Sown in September and comes to harvest in July/August
(August/September in Scotland).
- Spring barley. Sown February-April and comes to harvest in August
(September in Scotland).
and two different forms:
- Two row. By far the most common that has opposed pairs of grains
making up the ear.
- Six row, Mostly feed only, has grains in opposed sets of three but
with the outer two smaller, making up the ear. Usually has low specific
weight, often below the minimum standard barley specification but is
high yielding. Much less common.