Barley. Cultivation. Diseases and Insect Pests

Barley is an important cereal grain. It belongs to the same family of plants as corn, oats, rice, and wheat. Farmers grow barley to provide grain for malting, and for feeding to livestock.

Barley plants resemble wheat. The seeds of the barley plant grow in spikes at the tips of the stems. Most common varieties of barley are six-rowed barleys, with single grains growing in groups of three on each side of the spike. Two-rowed barleys are less common. Many kinds of barley have awns or beards (bristles) growing from the husks that surround the seeds.

Rippling fields of barley cover the countryside at harvest time. Farmers grow barley mainly as feed for livestock

Mature stalks of barley generally have bristles, or beards, growing out of the seeds

Cultivation. Barley will grow nearly anywhere in the Temperate Zone. It thrives in cool northern climates and at high altitudes. In warmer climates, farmers often cultivate it as a winter crop. Such winter barley is planted in the fall and harvested the following summer. Spring barley is planted in spring and matures by summer.

Farmers generally plant the seed in rows 6 to 7 inches (15 to 18 centimeters) apart and sow from 1 to 2 bushels of seed per acre (2.5 to 5 bushels per hectare). A bushel of barley weighs 48 pounds (22 kilograms). The grain is usually harvested with combines. But in some countries, farmers gather and thresh it by hand. The grain is harvested when the kernels are almost dry. In most barleys, husks cover the threshed grain. However, varieties called hull-less barley, or naked barley, have kernels that thresh clean.

Annual world barley production totals about 145 million tons (130 million metric tons). Canada, Germany, and Russia rank among the leading barley-producing countries. In the United States, North Dakota, Montana, and Idaho produce the most. Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba lead the provinces of Canada in production.

Diseases and insect pests may reduce the yield and quality of barley. Smuts are fungi that change the kernels into powdery black masses of spores. Stem rust causes reddish or black patches on stems or leaves. Mildew Appears as a cottony white growth on the plants. Spot blotch and net blotch cause lesions on leaves, stems, and roots. Scab leads to discoloration or black dots on the kernels. Viral diseases also strike barley and cause stunting, yellowing, or striping. Many barley diseases can be controlled by treating the barley seeds or foliage with chemicals and by using resistant or tolerant varieties. Grasshoppers, aphids, Hessian flies, and other insects also attack barley.

Uses of barley. In the United States, about 55 percent of the barley is used for animal feed. The grain is ground or rolled for use in mixed feeds, and the young plants provide hay, silage, and winter pasture.

High-quality barley is made into malt by sprouting the grain and then drying it. Malt is used in beer, liquor, malted milk, and flavorings. Pot barley is barley that has been ground enough to remove the husk. Pearled barley is ground in a revolving drum until the hull and germ are removed from the grain. This process reduces the grains to small starchy balls called pearls. Pearled barley is used for thickening soups. By-products of pearling include barley flour and animal feeds. Barley flour may be used in baby cereal and in bread.

History. Barley was probably one of the first cultivated cereals. Grains believed to be 5,000 to 7,000 years old have been found in Egypt and the Fertile Crescent region of the Middle East. Scientists are not certain where barley originated, but it may have been in Ethiopia, the Fertile Crescent, or central Asia.

 






Date added: 2022-12-11; views: 151;


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