True winter feed barley can only be planted in the autumn as it requires vernalisation. It is a relatively small niche market due to the flexibility in management and wide planting window of spring barley. Autumn planting has advantages of higher yields like with winter wheat, earlier harvest and spreads the farmers work load and irrigation requirements. If dryland then autumn planting is far safer allowing the crops roots to get deeper into the soil and potential higher yields due to less risk to moisture stress or drought. Barley is an excellent high energy feed source with at least 85% of the energy value of maize but superior protein and amino acid levels.
The only caution to growing winter barley especially where crops set up a high yield potential but there is a dry finish, is that it can produce lower test weights/higher screenings compared to spring sown barley. Like all crops, planning is essential prior to planting. Factors such as paddock selection, rotation, markets all need to be considered and then the most suitable cultivar should be chosen to accommodate these factors. For more information on PGW Grain cv’s please click the below link for Surge.