Do you want to learn barley farming, if yes, then you are on the right page. Read barley farming guide on Agriculture Review to know the process from sowing of seeds to harvesting of barley.

Barley is a major cereal crop of temperate regions globally. Just like wheat, barley is also among the world’s first cultivated crop. According to Oxford University Press, humans started cultivation of barley around 10,000 years ago in Eurasia.

After maize, rice, and wheat, barley is the fourth most produced grains in the world. Barley has many uses. People use it to prepare fermented beverages such as beer, also as a animal fodder, or to make breads, etc.

However, the variety of barley that we cultivate today is derived from its wild ancestor Hordeum spontaneum. According to Miller magazine, the global consumption of barley is around 147,7 Million tonnes in the year 2015 to 2016.

Source: Miller Magazine

Botanical Classification of Barley

Botanical Name: Hordeum vulgare

Family: Poaceae

Order: Cyperales

Class: Liliopsida

Division: Magnoliophyta

Chromosome Number: 7


Origin Of Barley

Researchers are still confused over the exact origin of barley. But, many believe that domesticated variety of barley originated in Western Asia. However, wild variety of barley originated around North Africa or Tibet.

Area & Production

Globally about 160 million tonnes of barley is produced every year. According to FAO, total land used for barley cultivation is 70 million hectares. Russia is the largest producer of Barley in the world, followed by Germany, France, Ukraine, and Australia.

In the year 2016, Russia produced 17,992,517 tonnes of barley whereas Germany produced 10,730,500 tonnes of barley. India ranks 22nd in the global barley production. India produces 1,505,000 tonnes of barley every year according to

However, the average crop yield of barley is highest in Germany. It produces around 6,685 Kilograms of barley per hectare.

Barley Farming Guide

barley farm
Barley Farm After Rain, Photo by Elisa H on Unsplash

Now I am going to provide the necessary guide on barley farming. I will discuss about soil, irrigation, fertilizer, pest and disease, field preparation, etc. This guide will help you to understand the complete cultivation process of barley.

Soil Requirement

Barley crop loves well drained, sandy loam to loamy soil. Moreover, you can also cultivated barley on medium and heavy black soil. Soil pH range of 5.0 to 7.0 is considered ideal for cultivating this crop.

Avoid waterlogged soil for barley farming purpose. You can also treat your field with any bio-fertilizer or pesticides such as waste decomposer or jeevamrut at the last time of ploughing. This will help add fertility to the soil and kill the harmful pest and pathogens in the soil.

Selection of Variety

This is one of the most important point for the cultivation of barley. Most of the farmers are still growing old varieties. This results in poor production. Different agricultural institutions set up in every country releases best suitable variety for the given area.

Before starting the sowing of seeds, check over different variety released in your region or country. Select the suitable variety for your area. In India, ICAR has recently released DWRB-160 variety of barley.

Climate and Temperature

You can cultivate barley in temperate, sub-tropical to tropical regions. The ideal temperature range required in the growth period of the crop is around 12 to 15 degrees Celsius. However during maturity average temperature around 30 degrees Celsius is good.

Barley crop can tolerate draught and sodic condition. But, they can not tolerate frost.

Seed Rate and Treatment

For irrigated and rainfed: 100 Kg per hectare

ConditionSeed RateTime of SowingSpacing
Irrigated (Timely Sown)100 Kg/ha10 to 25 November23 cms
Irrigated (Late Sown)125 Kg/ha26 November to 31 December18 cms
Rainfed (Plains)100 Kg/ha25 October to 10 November23 cms
Rainfed (Hilly Region)100 Kg/ha20 October to 7 November23 cms
Seed sowing planner for barley

This recommendation for sowing time only is for countries like India. For your specific country check the sowing time for your region on google before sowing of seeds.

Before sowing of seeds, seed treatment is very necessary to prevent seed from seed borne disease. You can treat seeds with Vitavax or Bavistin @2g/Kg seeds. This will help to control loose smut. If termite is in the field then treat the seed with 150 ml of Chloropyriphos (20EC) for 100 Kg of seeds.

It will help to prevent your seeds from termite attack. If you want to go 100% organic then treat the seeds with panchgavya or jeevamrut for 20 minutes before sowing of seeds.

You can sow the seeds in rows with the help of seed drill. Maintain the optimum depth of 4 to 5 cms depth for sowing of seeds.

Field Preparation

Levelling of field for barley farming is very important. Prepare the field with disc harrow and cultivar. Level the field with laser land leveller and prepare bunds. This will help to regulate and maintain adequate water level and aeration in the field.

Under irrigated areas, you can prepare the field after pre sowing irrigation. However, sowing of seeds in specially designed raised can help to increase water and fertilizers efficiency.

Manure and Fertilizers

If you are growing under irrigated condition then you can add half amount of Nitrogen, and complete dozes of Phosphorus and Potassium at the time of sowing of seeds. Apply the rest half amount of nitrogen during first irrigation.

Under rainfed condition you can add full doze of Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium at the time of sowing of seeds. If the field soil is deficient in Zinc, then you can add ZnSO4 @20 Kg/ha.

In addition to this doze of fertilizer do not forget to add 5 to 10 tonnes of Farm Yard Manure or any bulky organic manure per hectare for better result. However, the general recommendation of fertilizer doze by IIWBR is:

ConditionFertilizer Dozes (Kg/ha)
Irrigated60 Kg N: 30 Kg P: 20 Kg K
Rainfed (Plains)30 Kg N: 20 Kg P: 20 Kg K
Rainfed (Hilly Region)40 Kg N: 20 Kg P: 20 Kg K
Source: ICAR

But, if you want to practice organic farming of barley then you can use panchgavya, jeevamrut, vermicompost, or waste decomposer. You can use the liquid solution and mix them in irrigation water to fertilize your field.


You can grow farming in irrigated as well as rainfed conditions. Two to three irrigation frequency within the total crop crop period is sufficient for raising barley crop efficiently.

For better yield, grain uniformity, and grain quality 3 irrigations is appropriate. However, if you are practicing barley farming in dry dry areas then you can increasing irrigation up to 5 time in total.

The general recommendation of irrigation by ICAR is:

Nos. of IrrigationDays After SowingStage Of Crop
1.25 to 30 DASCrown Root Initiation (CRI)
2.35 to 40 DASTillering Stage
3.65 to 70 DASPanicle Emergence
Irrigation Frequency

Weed Management

In any crop weed growth can reduce the overall yield. So it is very important to control the weed effectively. Avoid using contaminated seeds, always use high quality seeds.

Common weeds that can be found in a barley field are:

Broad Leaf Weeds: Chenopodium album (Bathua), Convolvulus arvensis (Hirankhun), Anagalis arvensis ( Krishna Neel), Cronopus didymus (Wild Carrot) etc.

Narrow Leaf Weeds: Phalaris minor (Kanaki), Avena fatua (Wild Oat), etc.

To control broad leaf weeds you can apply 10 grams Melsulfuron (Algrip) in 300 litres of water for one hectare of land. Apply this solution 30 to 35 days after sowing of seeds. Or you can apply 1,250 grams 2, 4-D (Weedmar) in 300 litres of water for one hectare land.

To control narrow leaf weeds you can apply 85 ml of Pinoxaden (Axial 5 EC) dissolved in 300 litres of water for one hectare of land. Apply this herbicide solution 30 to 35 days after sowing of seeds.

For controlling both broad and marrow leaf weeds you can apply 1,250 grams of Isoproturan (Iso Guard 75 WP) dissolved in 300 litres of water.

Pest And Diseases

Pest like aphids can damage your crop. Keep checking timely for any infestations. This will help to control them well in time. Diseases like loose and covered smut, leaf blight, powdery mildew, Molya disease, etc. can damage your crop.

You can prevent your crop from smut and to some extent leaf blight disease by treatment of seeds with Vitavax or Bavistin @2g/ Kg of seeds. If you want to try organic substitute then you can use panchgavya or waste decomposer or jeevamrut.

In severe condition, you can control leaf blight by spraying 0.1% solution of Bayleton or Folicur i.e. 1 ml in 1 litre of water. For controlling Molya diseases grow disease resistant variety such as RD2052, RD2035, or RD2592.


Barley crop gets ready to be harvested in 120 to 160 days after sowing of seeds. Harvest the crop before breaking of spikes due to dryness. Delaying in harvesting can cause losses. Barley has a property to absorb water from atmosphere.

That’s why, it is very necessary to store the harvested crop in a dry place or storage house to avoid post harvest losses.


In rainfed condition the average yield can vary from 2,000 to 2,500 Kilograms per hectare. But, in irrigated conditions average yield can vary from 4000 to 6000 Kilograms per hectare.

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