Top 8 Tips for Barley Yields

barley harvest
Best management practices such as proper residue dispersal at harvest, variety selection and pest management, among others, are critical for obtaining top barley yields.

Best management practices (BMPs) go a long way to help farmers secure the best yields and return on investment when planting winter and spring barley. While there are many factors involved in achieving top yields, the following top eight tips can help add bushels and profits to deliver the best barley production outcomes:

  1. Harvest practices – Spread crop residue properly with the combine at harvest to help set the stage for optimal planting conditions. Uneven residue can delay emergence.
  2. Variety selection and genetics – Consult with local seed dealers and review results of variety trials. Results depend on the seed genetics a farmer chooses. Select the best certified seed variety for regional environmental conditions, good disease tolerance and your individual farming practices. Always plant more than one variety to minimize the risk of a barley pest infesting a single, susceptible variety throughout your entire crop.
  3. Soil testing – Use soil sampling to gauge fertility and maintain optimum soil nutrient levels. Make sure to restore more nutrients to the soil than were removed during the previous harvest.
  4. Nitrogen management – Maintain high nitrogen levels for high-yielding barley, keeping in mind that overfertilizing with nitrogen can cause lodging. Many experts recommend split nitrogen applications to reduce lodging and enhance barley grain quality.
  5. Seedbed preparation – Plant into a weed-free field. Barley quickly establishes in a cultivated or no-till seedbed and grows most successfully in well-drained fields with light clay or fertile loam soils. Do not plant when fields are waterlogged. 
  6. Seeding date – Choose planting dates depending upon the growing region and weather. Because barley is a cool-season crop, best yields result when seedling and early reproductive growth occurs during cool temperatures. Check your local Extension guidelines for recommended temperatures and planting dates for winter and spring barley in your area.
  7. Pest management – Control weed, disease and insect pressures with timely scouting and identification for top yields. A combination of BMPs such as selecting more than one barley variety for risk management; tillage; and herbicide, fungicide and insecticide applications go a long way to protect yields from pest threats.
  8. Season-long weed control and resistance management – Start early and use preplant and pre-emergence residual herbicides to help your crop start clean. Later in the season, weeds are more difficult to control and compete with seedlings for soil, sunlight, water and other nutrients, ultimately robbing yield. Aim to control weeds before they reach 3 inches in height. If weed escapes happen, stay clean with an effective postemergence herbicide. To manage resistance to herbicides, fungicides and insecticides, select products from different classes of chemistries that attack multiple, effective sites of action. Refer to sources such as Extension and Herbicide Resistance Action Committee (HRAC), Fungicide Resistance Action Committee (FRAC) and Insecticide Resistance Action Committee (IRAC) recommendations.

Bayer Solutions for Barley

Bayer offers a broad portfolio of season-long products to help barley growers achieve the highest possible yield and grain quality, including:

  • Huskie® herbicide features two modes of action that provide broad-spectrum control of 50 broadleaf weeds, including ALS-resistant biotypes.
  • Wolverine® Advanced herbicide offers powerful control of 69 tough grasses and broadleaf weeds in barley with a single rate. 
  • Prosaro® fungicide provides broad-spectrum disease control to help maximize yield and profit potential in barley by protecting your crop from both scab and leaf diseases.
  • EverGol® Energy seed treatment fungicide promotes more root growth for faster crop establishment. 
  • Raxil® PRO MD seed treatment protects against seed and soilborne diseases, including barley stripe, root rots, smuts and rust.
  • Sivanto™ insecticide precisely targets key damaging pests while helping safeguard beneficial insects to preserve the overall health of your plants and protect your investment in your crops. 

For information on Bayer’s portfolio of products to help cereal growers maximize yields and protect crops, contact your local Bayer representative.

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