Barley - introduction

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Barley is the one with the beard

It is an easily identified crop and very common. Most of it is used for animal feedstuffs or for brewing although a little pearl-barley is welcome in soups and broth. One of the old names for barley was bere which, with a trifling change of spelling, has become the name of it's major product.

Barley has two quality types:

  1. Malting. This is measured by the amount of malt extract produced when malted. It is determined largely by variety. More details
  2. Feed. Used for animal feed.

Two growing season types:

  1. Winter barley. Sown in September and comes to harvest in July/August (August/September in Scotland).
  2. Spring barley. Sown February-April and comes to harvest in August (September in Scotland).

and two different forms:

  1. Two row. By far the most common that has opposed pairs of grains making up the ear.
  2. Six row, Mostly feed only, has grains in opposed sets of three but with the outer two smaller, making up the ear. Usually has low specific weight, often below the minimum standard barley specification but is high yielding. Much less common.

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