Barley (Hordeum vulgare)

Barley (Hordeum vulgare), a member of the grass family, is a major cereal grain grown in temperate climates globally. It was one of the first cultivated grains, particularly in Eurasia as early as 10,000 years ago. Barley has been used as animal fodder, as a source of fermentable material


Barley (Hordeum vulgare)

Local  names:  Hindi:  Jav,  Jau  Kannada:   Jave- godhi  Malayalam:  Barli,  Yavam  Marathi:  Satu,  Jav Sanskrit: Aksata, Akshata, Dhanyaraja Tamil: Barliarisi Telugu: Barlibiyam, Dhanuabhedam Urdu: Jao, Jav

Barley is widely grown in Europe and in the cool and dry climates of North America and Asia. It       is also one of the very popular grains in feeding livestock.

Nutritive value

Maize, wheat, triticale and sorghum are recognized


as high energy grains, whereas, barley and oats  are  lower  in  energy  content.  The  lower  energy

Fig.  1.5  Barley grain


value of barley is due to its lower starch content, a higher content of poorly digested  glucans,  and  higher  fiber  content.  Barley  contains  water  soluble  carbohydrates   called

b-glucans which are poorly digested, especially in non-ruminants. However, the glucans are digested by microbial action in rumen. The crude protein varies from 11-16% and TDN from 78-80%. The lipid content of barley grain is low; usually less than 2.5% of dry matter. Barley is deficient in the amino acid  lysine.

In many parts of developed countries barley is used for fattening beef animals. Beef cattle are fattened on concentrate diet consisting of about 85% bruised barley without the use of the roughage. In this process the barley is usually treated so that the husk is kept as one piece and at the same time the endosperm is exposed, the best results being obtained        by rolling the grain at a moisture content of 16-18%. Storage of high moisture barley of   this type can present a problem because of the possibility of mold growth. Satisfactory preservation of the moist grain can be obtained if it is stored anaerobically. An additional    or alternative safeguard is to treat the grain with a mould inhibitor such as propionic acid. Certain hazards such as rumen acidosis and bloat can be encountered with high concentrate diets given to ruminants and it is necessary to introduce this type of feeding gradually over  a period of time. There are no significant toxins in   barley.