Barley is a major cereal crop grown for the feed, brewing and distilling industries.
The Barley market
Every year around 1.9 million tonnes of barley is used for malting purposes, making the UK brewing industry the biggest buyer of barley. Spring barley is predominantly used for producing malt for distilling and lager type brewing malt, whilst winter varieties are used mainly in the production of ale and food malts.
Barley is usually bought through the agricultural merchant trade.
Pre-harvest contracts have a number of advantages including ensuring the correct varieties are grown and that there will be an end market for the crop. The contract will specify those grain parameters that are key to the successful production of malt, including:
- Target grain nitrogen
- Minimum germination
- Grain size
- Maximum moisture and food safety requirements
Disease control in Barley
Yield in barley is built from the whole plant so it is vital to protect all the leaves, the stem, spikelets (awns) and ear from disease. As barley is usually limited by grain number and tiller number, it is vital to control disease from early in the season to maintain a disease free crop from tillering onwards.
The main foliar diseases which should be guarded against are:
- Net blotch
and to a lesser extent mildew. Brown rust should also be considered in the spray strategy, particularly later in the season.
SDHIs and triazoles are important pillars of disease control in barley crops. BASF’s Adexar, containing fluxapyroxad + epoxiconazole is an ideal fungicide for Barley disease protection.