Influencing Barley Quality

Barley quality targets will depend on the end user’s required specification e.g. livestock feed or malt for the brewing industry. The main traits to consider are grain nitrogen %, specific weight, moisture and grain weight.

Quality Specification

Research has also shown that the malting quality of barley is determined by a number of other grain properties, such as the composition of proteins and carbohydrates, endosperm structure, cell wall composition and the activities of various enzymes during malting. 

Crop nutrition programmes have an impact on the quality of the harvested barley grain and should be planned according to the targeted quality parameters. To achieve the highest value for barley grain, the grower often has to meet a combination of these specifications.

Crop Nutrition and Barley Quality

Macronutrients for Barley Grain Quality 

The two most important macronutrients to consider are nitrogen and potassium. A well balanced nutrient program should therefore be the aim. Too much or too little of any of these nutrients can have a negative effect. Excess nitrogen will lead to high grain protein which may or may not be desirable. It could also cause the crop to lodge with the eventual consequence being a delayed harvest and grains that begin to grow in the ear. 

Micronutrients for Barley Grain Quality

The secondary nutrient sulfur can influence grain nitrogen and protein composition. Calcium and boron improve cell wall strength which contribute to reducing the risk of lodging. Excess nutrient can also be detrimental. Too much sulfur for example can either interact with molybdenum or taint the flavours of the products developed from the malting process.

Find Yara Advice on Every Barley Quality Issue

Influencing Barley Grain Nitrogen

Influencing Barley Grain Quality

A high nitrogen content in barley grain tends to arise from a large uptake or redistribution of nitrogen late in the season, or poor starch deposition.

Influencing Barley Grain Size and Thousand Grain Weight

Improving Thousand Grain Weight in Barley

It is important to determine Thousand Grain Weight (TGW) in Barley to enable an accurate control of the seed when sowing to obtain the correct plant population target.