You have no items in your shopping cart.

Subtotal: $0.00

How to increase barley yields

UK Barley production has risen by quite a large margin over past years, with growers citing its increased yield potential and higher average yield per hectare.

In line with our company’s mission, we have curated a selection of tips and advice from the UK’s experts on how to increase barley yields and ultimately earn better. Included are tips on Barley disease management and weed management, with instrumental tips on recommended Barley crop nutrition and appropriate use of Nitrogen in Barley production.

Three key factors that will increase barley yields

  • Drilling Dates - Dr Hoad suggests an optimum sowing date between the middle and end of September.
  • Higher N rates - Recent research suggests that optimum rates for feed winter barley could be as high as 250kg N/ha where soil residual N is low and yield potential is 10 t/ha or more.
  • Disease strategy - Dr Hoad advocates a T0 if the crop has early mildew or brown rust infection or if there is a lot of rhynchosporium coming out of winter.

Expert insights on how to increase barley yield

Hybrid barley now accounts for 20% of the winter barley area in the UK and promises a yield advantage of up to 1.0t/ha over conventional varieties.

But there are some important management practices that must be adopted to get the best from the hybrid crop, say experts.

Seed rate is critical, and this cannot be emphasised enough, says Syngenta’s James Taylor-Alford.

“People still use too high a rate which results in too many tillers and too many ears. Specific weight suffers and that can drag down yields especially if you get a delay in harvest.”

His advice is to aim for 180 plants/sq m in the spring when drilled in mid-September and to apply early nitrogen to stimulate tillering.

“The current recommendation is to apply 30% of the nitrogen at GS25 in mid- to late-February when the crop is actively growing, 50% of the main dose at GS30 and then the remainder at GS32/33,” explains the firm’s James Marshall-Roberts.

Even where crops are thick and well tillered he still advocates applying the nitrogen early, as delaying can result in more secondary tillers, affect grain quality and produce a more conventional level of yield.

As with all winter barley the T1 fungicide timing is critical as barley is sink-limited, so if spikelet survival is compromised then the formation of grain sites will be decreased.

Therefore, robust rates of SDHI, triazole and strobilurin chemistry all have a place at this timing, he says.

Yet over the past couple of years, trials have demonstrated a clear benefit from the T2 on yield, specific weight and brackling, putting almost equal emphasis on this timing.

“Even in the absence of disease we are seeing the benefits, especially in brackling.” Therefore, Mr Marshall-Roberts advises to ensure that T2 is not omitted even in a low-disease year.

“You don’t need the highest rates, but it is worthwhile having a robust T2 whether it is a combination of triazoles, SDHIs and strobilurins or just SDHIs and triazoles.”

Growth regulation is very important too. Early applications of chlormequat (at, GS25-30, help the below ground structure with rooting and tillering, while Moddus + chlormequat at GS31/32 addresses stem thickness and a later application of Terpal helps to reduce height, he adds.

Even establishment is crucial because, unlike wheat, barley is less able to compensate by increasing grains per ear if the establishment is poor, he says.

“Higher tillering [two-rows] or higher ear weight [in six-rows] offers an opportunity to reduce seed rates, perhaps down to 300 seeds/sq m, but it needs to be adjusted based on experience of ear size and yield.”

Raising seed rates doesn’t tend to equate to a yield benefit but will give more shoots producing fewer seeds per shoot, increasing screenings and reducing specific weight.

--- More on Farmers Weekly

Crop nutrition is key to increasing barley yields

High barley yields come from achieving the correct ear numbers, maintaining a healthy, green leaf canopy, increasing grain numbers per ear and grain size. A balanced crop nutrition program including all macro and micro nutrients is essential to help manage all of these components.

ralative nutrient uptake of Barley in relation to plant development

Barley grain yield is made up of three components, the most consistent of which is average grain weight. Most yield variation between sites and seasons is due to differences in grain number rather than grain size with a strong relationship between grain number per sq.m and yield, but only a weak relationship between average grain weight and yield.

--- More on Yara

Improved tillering will increase Barley yields

Spring barley varieties that have a better tillering ability could be linked to higher yields helping to explain why many of the newer varieties are offering such increases in yield claims leading plant breeders Limagrain UK.

This is based on agronomy trials carried out by the breeder that have focussed on monitoring the tillering capacity of spring barley lines over many years.

“It is quite evident that many of the newer varieties appear to be producing higher tiller counts,” says Limagrain’s arable technical manager, Ron Granger.

“The key to upping spring barley yields is achieving high final head counts and choosing a variety with a greater tillering ability.”

--- More on LG Seeds

Thanks for reading our blog on how to boost barley yields, with this expert knowledge, we hope you can progress further on your journey to maximise Barley yields and ultimately earn better. If you would like your thoughts to be included in our ‘Insights’ articles, please contact Stuart Dixon on – we’d love to hear from you!

Leave a Reply

Sorry, you must be logged in to post a comment.