Winter barley v spring barley

valtraman

Member
I’ve 30 acres been in permanent grass for years needing freshened up. Given feed price and straw prices I’m thinking I should put some barley in and produce something of my own. My thoughts on winter v spring is I will have crop off far earlier than spring stuff to get a reseed put in plus my contractor does lot more soring than winter so easier to get him in. Give me pros and cons
 

Jerry

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Devon
Winter early harvest but more spray passes and bigger N requirement. More expensive to grow but yield potential of both grain and straw.

Spring barley cheaper to grow and in right year will equal winter in Terms of yield and will produce a better margin. But higher risk if a dry spring after drilling.

A lot depends on soil type and rainfall patterns.

For me this year spring barley looks fantastic compared to winter.
 

EddieB

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
Staffs
I’ll echo the above. Winter barley more expensive to grow but more consistent yields (last year excepted). SB much cheaper to grow, some n good years can match or even exceed WB yields, but in a drought can be pretty pants.
WB also early to harvest.
 

Zippy768

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Dorset/Wilts
Never been fond of spring barley. Later harvest, less straw and never good enough yields. Also hate spring drilling

Both fairly simple to grow imo. Grass herbicide options are fairly limited, and fung pretty straightforward.

WB doesn't like wet feet, but SB obviously doesn't like droughts
Do you need the straw?
 

Flat 10

Member
Location
Fen Edge
Never been fond of spring barley. Later harvest, less straw and never good enough yields. Also hate spring drilling

Both fairly simple to grow imo. Grass herbicide options are fairly limited, and fung pretty straightforward.

WB doesn't like wet feet, but SB obviously doesn't like droughts
Do you need the straw?
Why would you hate spring drilling? I love it.
 

GrantMo

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Moray
Leatherjackets can be a big problem in spring barley after old grass. We find they can have less effect if you delay drilling a little bit till the ground is nice and warm so the barley is up and away from them quickly, but it's weather dependent. A late cold spring (like this year) and our SB after old grass isn't looking well at all.
Have always fancied trying some winter barley after grass as I imagine it would be well rooted by the time the worms are hatched, but I could be wrong?
 

Chae1

Member
Location
Aberdeenshire
In a mixed farming situation with grass and plenty muck I have found it doesn't cost much more to grow winter barley than spring barley. We have grown it 2 years on the trot after long term ley and get decent yields and plenty straw. Winter barley looking much better than spring barley at moment despite one of coldest and wettest springs on record in this area.

Earlier harvest gives the opportunity to establish forage crops after or reseed it back into grass. We just use a min till cultivator with a small seeds box on it and go straight into stubble.
 

neilo

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Montgomeryshire
I’ve 30 acres been in permanent grass for years needing freshened up. Given feed price and straw prices I’m thinking I should put some barley in and produce something of my own. My thoughts on winter v spring is I will have crop off far earlier than spring stuff to get a reseed put in plus my contractor does lot more soring than winter so easier to get him in. Give me pros and cons

What’s your land like? I’m on moderately heavy stuff and grow both Winter & Spring Barley, both are here only to fit round fodder crops to feed sheep tbh.

WB struggles here in a wet winter, as it hates having wet feet, and it really needs early N applications to get it tillering (hence mostly recovered from last winter here). SB is cheaper to grow, can yield similarly, but makes for a late harvest on heavy soils that keep it green.

WB would allow you to get a good grass ley in next year, if that’s your aim, or a strong fodder crop for the winter to follow with a Spring reseed.
 

Wesley

Member
If its a field that lies wet in the winter i’d go spring barley otherwise we always aim to grow winter barley. Harvested earlier so greater chance of getting a better reseed.
If the weather in the autumn isn’t great you’ve always got the option of drilling spring barley, but if you aim for SB you’ve got no fallback.
Depends where you’re to, but we find there’s less chance WB needs drying due to the longer (generally) drier days when its combined.
 
If you have land that needs tidying up then I would use wheat simply because I had more herbicide options in case I needed to tidy it up, in barley you have much fewer grass weed control options. Granted, these might be minimal if you had done a pioneer crop of say kale etc over the summer instead.
 

Wombat

Member
Location
East yorks
Really depends on your soil, we find winter barley just doesn’t like having cold wet feet in clay all winter where as wheat will tiller in the spring. So we go spring barley, works ok but the last couple of years have been testing in the spring as the clay bakes like concrete
 

valtraman

Member
The fields I was thinking are on a good slope , not heavy clay and generally dry out quick after wet. What would generally be the procedure in terms of fert and sprays for winter stuff? Should I roundup the grass before ploughing ? Fert on before drilling? Pre em spray?
 

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