Barley

What is Barley?

Barley is a cereal grain that belongs to the grass family, Poaceae. It is one of the oldest domesticated crops, with evidence of its cultivation dating back to ancient times in Eurasia and the Middle East. Barley is a self-pollinating crop that can grow in a variety of environments, including cold, arid, and high-altitude regions. Its versatility and hardiness have made it an important crop for both human and animal consumption.

Barley is an annual crop that typically grows to a height of two to three feet. It has a hollow, cylindrical stem with long, flat leaves. The plant produces spikelets, which are clusters of flowers that contain grains. The grains themselves are small and oblong, with a tough outer layer called the hull. The hull must be removed before the grains can be used for human consumption.

Barley is a crop that requires relatively low levels of water and nutrients to grow. It can be grown in areas with poor soil quality and has a relatively short growing season, making it a popular crop in regions with harsh winters. Barley is also an important crop for crop rotation, as it can help to break up soil and prevent the buildup of pests and diseases.

Barley is a highly adaptable and durable crop that has been integral to human and animal nutrition for millennia. Its capability to thrive in different conditions and its resilience to pests and diseases make it an essential crop for sustainable agriculture. Furthermore, ongoing research investigates the potential health advantages of barley, such as its ability to lower the risk of certain ailments.

Barley Production in the World

Russian Federation is the top country producing barley in the world. As of 2022, the Russian Federation produced 23,393,510 tonnes of barley, accounting for 15.10% of the total production. Australia is the world's second-largest barley producer, with 14,377,284 tonnes, which represents 9.28% of the total production. In terms of barley yield, Oman is the most productive country on the planet with 142,271. France, Germany, and Canada are the top three leading countries with '11,285,440', '11,207,100', '9,986,681', and '8,500,000' tonnes respectively. Guatemala has the lowest production of barley in the world with only 18 tonnes in 2022. The world's total production of barley was estimated at 154,877,142 tonnes in 2022.

Source: FAOSTAT

Top 10 Countries by Barley Production in 2022

Top Countries by Production of Barley in 2022

Rank Country production(Tonnes) acreage(Hectare) Yield
1
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Russian Federation
23,393,5107,939,72429,464
2
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Australia
14,377,2845,094,52728,221
3
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France
11,285,4401,866,52060,462
4
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Germany
11,207,1001,582,60070,814
5
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Canada
9,986,6812,635,70037,890
6
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Türkiye
8,500,0003,188,52426,658
7
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United Kingdom
7,385,0001,104,00066,893
8
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Spain
7,029,7202,398,00029,315
9
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Ukraine
5,608,1701,740,20032,227
10
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Argentina
5,279,6081,335,62339,529
11
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Denmark
4,122,600614,50067,089
12
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United States of America
3,795,650984,61038,550
13
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Kazakhstan
3,287,2402,187,29715,029
14
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Iran (Islamic Republic of)
3,000,0001,650,00018,182
15
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Poland
2,782,010639,24043,521
16
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Ethiopia
2,400,000970,00024,742
17
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China
1,960,000490,00040,000
18
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Czechia
1,877,360334,50056,124
19
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Romania
1,706,650425,95040,067
20
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Algeria
1,600,0001,025,00015,610
21
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Hungary
1,590,740330,80048,088
22
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Ireland
1,549,860190,25081,464
23
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Sweden
1,509,500274,80054,931
24
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Finland
1,467,600379,60038,662
25
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India
1,371,360453,32030,251
26
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Italy
1,158,410267,96043,231
27
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Belarus
1,100,000331,50033,183
28
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Azerbaijan
1,069,446382,68627,946
29
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Mexico
969,913323,15930,014
30
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Uruguay
897,200211,00042,521
31
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Austria
767,120122,55062,596
32
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Morocco
696,3801,137,3286,123
33
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Bulgaria
624,600122,41051,025
34
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Norway
591,000131,30545,010
35
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Slovakia
556,480109,13050,992
36
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Kyrgyzstan
539,602235,07722,954
37
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Lithuania
522,000133,12039,213
38
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Brazil
521,996129,58140,283
39
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Tunisia
521,000430,00012,116
40
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Estonia
488,820116,39041,998
41
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Serbia
452,00193,81548,180
42
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Belgium
373,00046,44080,319
43
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New Zealand
329,72846,50470,903
44
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Greece
323,380116,80027,687
45
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Croatia
321,90063,07051,039
46
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South Africa
308,675101,00030,562
47
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Netherlands
283,23036,60077,385
48
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Latvia
281,60076,80036,667
49
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Japan
233,30063,30036,856
50
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Peru
225,496127,93217,626
51
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Switzerland
184,55328,05665,780
52
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Syrian Arab Republic
178,5421,114,7721,602
53
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Thailand
174,34672,18024,154
54
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Tajikistan
150,00075,00020,000
55
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Iraq
144,49391,14415,853
56
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North Macedonia
137,69145,42930,309
57
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Republic of Moldova
132,70054,80024,215
58
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Uzbekistan
123,44799,23812,439
59
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Slovenia
112,46022,55049,871
60
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Afghanistan
110,00080,00013,750
61
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Chile
109,01820,69052,691
62
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Egypt
96,71724,50039,476
63
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Bosnia and Herzegovina
89,61020,98642,700
64
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Armenia
75,42941,89118,006
65
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Libya
70,000137,8715,077
66
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Republic of Korea
67,98323,63928,759
67
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Eritrea
65,00045,00014,444
68
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Georgia
58,80024,60023,902
69
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Zimbabwe
57,29210,45054,825
70
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Bolivia (Plurinational State of)
47,15953,6578,789
71
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Democratic People's Republic of Korea
39,53430,92012,786
72
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Pakistan
38,03738,2389,947
73
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Luxembourg
37,5206,09061,609
74
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Jordan
35,00025,00014,000
75
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Nepal
32,15623,13413,900
76
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Lebanon
30,00014,00021,429
77
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Portugal
27,78011,93023,286
78
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Cyprus
26,70011,50023,217
79
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Turkmenistan
25,00020,00012,500
80
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Yemen
24,00027,0008,889
81
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The United Republic of Tanzania
20,24910,75618,826
82
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Kenya
20,0007,51226,624
83
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Albania
19,0145,59733,972
84
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Zambia
14,2011,75181,080
85
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Israel
13,7507,82117,581
86
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Palestine
11,4545,27121,730
87
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Ecuador
11,1557,63614,608
88
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Iceland
8,9003,00029,667
89
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Colombia
6,9552,86824,250
90
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Kuwait
4,94870869,886
91
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Saudi Arabia
4,30078254,987
92
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Mongolia
4,1264,1779,878
93
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Oman
3,155222142,271
94
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Mauritania
1,45548629,911
95
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Democratic Republic of the Congo
9921,4566,811
96
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Montenegro
97335227,645
97
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Bhutan
61552811,643
98
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Lesotho
3058583,555
99
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Bangladesh
1721839,399
100
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Qatar
782530,697
101
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Guatemala
18821,634

Cultivation of Barley

Barley, a cereal crop, is widely used for human consumption, animal feed, and as a crucial ingredient in the production of beer and other alcoholic beverages. It is considered an uncomplicated crop to cultivate and can thrive in a variety of soil types and climates.

The following are the general steps involved in cultivating barley:

  1. Soil preparation: Before planting barley, the soil should be prepared by removing weeds, rocks, and other debris. Barley prefers well-drained, loamy soil with a pH between 6.0 and 7.5.
  2. Planting: Barley can be planted in the fall or spring, depending on the climate and growing conditions. The seeds should be sown at a depth of 1-2 inches and spaced 6-8 inches apart. Barley can be planted by broadcasting the seeds or by using a seed drill.
  3. Fertilization: Nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium are essential nutrients required for the growth of barley. Of these, nitrogen plays a crucial role and can be incorporated into the soil before planting or during the growing phase.
  4. Irrigation: Barley requires regular watering, particularly during the early stages of growth. The soil should be kept moist but not waterlogged, as waterlogging can lead to root rot.
  5. Pest and disease control: Barley is susceptible to a range of pests and diseases, including aphids, powdery mildew, and rust. These can be controlled using insecticides, fungicides, or by using crop rotation.
  6. Harvesting: Barley is typically ready for harvesting in late summer or early fall. The crop should be harvested when the grains are fully mature and the moisture content is around 14%.
  7. Processing: Once harvested, the barley grains can be processed for human or animal consumption, or used in brewing and other industries. Processing may involve cleaning, dehulling, and milling the grains to produce barley flour or other products.

Health Benefits of Barley

Barley is a nutrient-dense grain that has some potential health benefits. Here are some of the key ways in which barley may promote health:

  1. Rich in Nutrients: Barley contains several essential nutrients such as fiber, vitamins, and minerals. The fiber content of barley is notably high, which can help support digestive health and reduce cholesterol levels.
  2. Potential to Lower Cholesterol: The beta-glucan fiber found in barley has been shown to help lower cholesterol levels by binding to bile acids in the digestive tract and removing them from the body.
  3. Blood Sugar Control: Barley is a low glycemic index food, meaning that it is digested slowly and does not cause a rapid spike in blood sugar levels. This may make it a good choice for people with diabetes or those at risk of developing the condition.
  4. Weight Manage: Barley is a low-calorie, high-fiber food that can help to promote feelings of fullness and reduce overall calorie intake. This may make it a useful tool for weight management.
  5. Antioxidant: Barley contains several antioxidants, including vitamin E, selenium, and phenolic acids. These compounds can help to protect against oxidative damage, which has been linked to a range of chronic diseases.

In general, barley is a nourishing food that could provide various potential health advantages. Though further research is necessary to completely comprehend its effects on human health, incorporating barley into your diet can be an easy means of boosting your intake of vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

Nutritional Information of Barley

Here are the approximate nutritional values for 100 grams of raw, hulled barley:

  • Calories: 354 kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 73.5 g
  • Protein: 12.5 g
  • Fat: 2.3 g
  • Fiber: 17.3 g
  • Sugar: 0.8 g
  • Calcium: 33 mg
  • Iron: 2.5 mg
  • Magnesium: 133 mg
  • Phosphorus: 264 mg
  • Potassium: 452 mg
  • Sodium: 12 mg
  • Zinc: 2.2 mg
  • Vitamin C: 0 mg
  • Thiamin (B1): 0.4 mg
  • Riboflavin (B2): 0.1 mg
  • Niacin (B3): 4.6 mg
  • Vitamin B6: 0.3 mg
  • Folate (B9): 19 μg
  • Vitamin E: 0.6 mg
  • Vitamin K: 2.2 μg

It's worth noting that the nutrient content of barley can vary depending on many factors, including the variety of barley, the soil in which it was grown, and how it was processed. Additionally, these values represent raw barley, and the nutrient content may change if it is cooked or processed in any way.

Structure of Barley

Barley is a cereal grain that belongs to the grass family, Poaceae. The plant has a complex structure that includes several distinct parts, each with its function.

Here is an overview of the structure of barley:

  1. Root System: Barley has a fibrous root system that anchors the plant in the soil and absorbs water and nutrients.
  2. Stem: The stem of the barley plant is a tall, slender stalk that supports the leaves, flowers, and seed heads.
  3. Leaves: The leaves of barley are long, slender, and taper to a point. They grow alternately along the stem and are typically green or bluish-green.
  4. Inflorescence: The inflorescence of barley refers to the entire flowering portion of the plant. It consists of several spikelets, which contain flowers and seeds.
  5. Spikelets: Each spikelet contains several florets, each of which can produce a grain. The spikelets are arranged in pairs along the stem, with one spikelet facing upwards and the other facing downwards.
  6. Grains: The grains of barley are small, oval-shaped structures that are typically pale yellow or beige. Each grain consists of several layers, including the bran, endosperm, and germ.

Overall, the structure of barley is complex and well-suited to the plant's function as a cereal grain. Its fibrous root system and tall, slender stem allow it to grow tall and strong, while its leaves and inflorescence are specialized for photosynthesis and reproduction. The grains themselves are protected by several layers and are well-adapted for storage and consumption.

Types of Barley

There are several different types of barley, each with its characteristics and uses. Here are some of the most common types of barley:

  1. Hulled Barley: Hulled barley is the most basic type of barley and has only had the outermost hull removed. It is whole grain and has a chewy texture and nutty flavor. Hulled barley is often used in soups, stews, and salads.
  2. Pearl Barley: Pearl barley is hulled barley that has been polished to remove the bran layer. This results in a softer texture and shorter cooking time than hulled barley. Pearl barley is often used in porridge, risotto, and other cooked dishes.
  3. Pot Barley: Pot barley is hulled barley that has been polished to remove some, but not all, of the bran layer. It retains more of its fiber than pearl barley and has a chewy texture. Pot barley is often used in stews and soups.
  4. Scotch Barley: Scotch barley is a hulled barley that has been lightly polished to remove some of the bran layers. It has a chewy texture and a slightly nutty flavor. Scotch barley is often used in soups, stews, and as a side dish.
  5. Barley Flakes: Barley flakes are made by steaming and rolling hulled barley. They have a texture similar to rolled oats and can be used in porridge, granola, and baked goods.
  6. Barley Grits: Barley grits are made by cracking hulled barley into small pieces. They have a coarser texture than barley flakes and are often used as hot cereal or as a side dish.

Overall, each type of barley has its unique flavor and texture, making it a versatile ingredient in a range of dishes.

Uses of Barley

Barley is a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of ways, both in culinary applications and non-food uses. Here are some of the most common uses of barley:

  1. Food: Barley is commonly used in soups, stews, and casseroles, where it adds texture and flavor. It can also be cooked like rice and used as a base for salads and pilafs. Barley flour is used in baking and can be used to make bread, crackers, and other baked goods.
  2. Beer and Whiskey: Barley is a key ingredient in the production of beer and whiskey. In beer-making, barley is malted, which means it is germinated and then dried, to activate enzymes that convert starches in the barley into fermentable sugars. These sugars are then fermented with yeast to produce alcohol. In whiskey-making, barley is typically malted and then distilled.
  3. Animal Feed: Barley is a common ingredient in animal feed, particularly for livestock such as cattle, sheep, and horses. It is high in fiber and protein and can be fed as a whole grain or processed into pellets.
  4. Non-Food Uses: Barley straw is often used as a natural water treatment in ponds and water gardens, as it can help to control algae growth. Barley can also be used as a natural fiber for weaving and textiles.
  5. Medicinal Uses: Barley grass, which is the young, leafy part of the barley plant, is sometimes used as a dietary supplement due to its high nutrient content. Barley grass is rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, and is believed to have anti-inflammatory and detoxifying effects.

Overall, barley is a versatile ingredient that can be used in a wide range of applications, from food and drink production to non-food uses and medicinal applications.