Best Fertilizer for Barley: Organic, NPK, Requirements,  When and How to Apply

Barley is one of the most important cereals and beverage crops globally. It is one of the oldest cereal crops of agriculture globally and one of the first grown cereals and is the fourth largest cereal crop in the world after Maize, Wheat, and Rice. The Barley crop mainly requires nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). It is always best to get a soil health card for better nutrient management. Let’s check out the best fertilizer for Barley.

Best Fertilizer for Barley
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Crop nutrition is cultivated, which can greatly affect the quality of Barley, and the use of fertilizers should be planned to help achieve the highest value of Barley by combining frequent descriptions. Achieving the required quality targets for Barley can greatly affect the value of the harvested crop, depending on the desired market, such as for livestock feed or the malt for the brewing industry. Crop nutrition programs impact the quality of harvested Barley grains and must be planned based on quality targets.

To get the highest value of Barley grains, the farmer often has to go through these characteristics. The most important nutrients to consider are nitrogen, sulfur, and potassium. That should be the goal of a balanced diet. Too little or too much of these nutrients can have a negative effect. Excess nitrogen will lead to higher grain protein, which may not be desired. It can also cause freezing of the crop, which results in delays in harvesting and grains that start to grow in the ear. Sulfur grains can affect nitrogen and protein composition. 

Best fertilizer for Barley

Organic fertilizers

The use of organic fertilizers has been reported to improve crop growth by supplying plant nutrients that include micronutrients and improving the physical, chemical, and biological soil properties, thus improving soil structure. It provides a better environment for root development. Organic fertilizers affect the growth, development, and production of Barley.

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The use of farmyard manure, animal manure, poultry manure, and vermicompost has significantly improved Barley yield and production components such as number per plant, spike length, straw, biomass, grain weight, and grain yield. It concludes that organic fertilizers play an important role in increasing Barley production and productivity. The irrigated crop area gives good results to the field with about 10-15 tons of FYM or organic compost. FYM provides essential nutrients to the crop and helps overcome salinity and alkaline soil salt problems. It should be applied one month before sowing.

Adequate nitrogen for crop growth

Nitrogen greatly affects the protein content of grains. Excessive nitrogen in Barley grains is caused by large amounts of nitrogen taken or redistributed at the end of the season or poor starch accumulation. The use of nitrogen will greatly affect the protein concentration of Barley grains. A high rate of direct consumption increases the nitrogen/protein of the grain. This may be necessary where the crop is being used for animal feed.

However, where the market is for low nitrogen Malt Barley, lower rates will be required. Therefore, the nitrogen rate must be aligned with the desired production and quality targets.  Barley requires adequate nitrogen (N) for good yields, but the industry’s excessive grain protein often rejects the crop as a malting grade. Since too much N can lead to a smaller kernel size, the line between appropriate N and excessive N is fine. In addition, excessive N can result in reduced production, which in some years increases the incidence and severity of Fusarium head blight and other diseases.

Excessive use of fertilizers will not increase production beyond the permitted environment and management decisions. Also, there is no correlation between production and the N rate environment. Instead, fertilizer rates are based on the rate that maximizes production/quality in any given year, not on yield prediction. Feed Barley rates are higher than those for malt contracts, which are more conservative due to the low protein content. Nitrogen fertilizers are the key to crop growth and meet the nutritional requirements of maximum need.

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Barley Field
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Fertilizers with additional nutrients are used when appropriate. N is an element of growth, and knowledge of its dynamics in the soil and the moment of maximum demand of the crop allows us to improve performance while applying this element. Combining sulfur, microelements, and nitrogen improves their absorption efficiency through coordination (S, Zn, Mg). 

Main and micronutrients 

The main nutrients of crops are nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. In addition, it absorbs large amounts of calcium, magnesium, and sulfur. Nitrogen and potassium are the most needed nutrients to maintain high yields. In recent years, the intensity of grain cultivation and inadequate soil management has meant that deficiencies in elements such as sulfur and magnesium have been detected in some regions.

The best quality of agricultural products is related to the best nutrition of micronutrients and magnesium, and sulfur. A balanced crop nutrition strategy is important and should include secondary and micronutrients, which are essential elements for achieving higher yields. As with macronutrients, peak demand will increase during peak periods. 

Optimal rate and fertilizer timing in Barley

The best rate and time of nutrients for Barley to achieve high levels of nutrient use. The correct rate and time of Barley fertilizer application are important, which maximizes the productivity of the crop while minimizing the environmental impact. In the case of irrigation, apply half of the nitrogen and the full amount of phosphorus as basal, and the remaining half of nitrogen should be top dressed after first irrigation or 30 days after sowing, whereas in the case of light soil, add one-third of nitrogen. And the whole amount of phosphorus should be added basically, one-third nitrogen after the first irrigation and the remaining one-third after the second irrigation. 

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Barley Farm
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Nutrient requirements

  • For irrigated crops, 60 kg N / ha, 30 kg P / ha, and 20 kg/ha K for timely sowing. 
  • For late sown irrigation crop 60 kg N / ha, 30 kg P / ha, and 20 kg K / ha. 
  • For Malt Barley, 80 kg/ha N, 40 kg/ha P and 20 kg/ha K. 
  • 30 kg N / ha, 20 kg P / ha, and 20 kg/ha K for rainfed crops in plains.
  •  or rainfed crops in hilly areas, 40 kg N / ha, 20 kg P / ha, and 20 kg K / ha.
  • Use ½ N, full P, and K as a basal application for irrigated crops.

Apply the other ½ N as a top dressing after 1st irrigation or 30 days of sowing. The full dose of NPK is given as a basal dose for rainfed crops. Fertilizer should be applied on soil health card and in case of Zn deficiency apply ZnSO4 at the rate of 8 kg per acre. Other micronutrients should be used based on soil testing/deficiency symptoms.

Fertilizer requirements (kg / acre) 

UreaSSPMuriate of Potash

NPK fertilizers

Apply N: P: K fertilizer dose of 25: 12: 6 kg/acre in terms of Urea @ 55 kg/acre, SSP at 75kg per acre and MOP at 10kg per acre. Use the full amount of phosphorus and potash as basal at the time of sowing while the amount of nitrogen should be applied before sowing before irrigation. Complex NPK fertilizers are applied during sowing to balance soil nutrients: essential, secondary, and micronutrients. The correct composition and balance will be applied based on the soil content keeping in view the crop requirements and expected yield. 

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Method of fertilizer application 

It is recommended to use a half-full dose of nitrogen and phosphorus as basal dose in irrigated areas. After the first irrigation or 30 days after sowing, the remaining half of the nitrogen should be applied. In light soil conditions, one-third of nitrogen and the full amount of phosphorus should be added as basal dose, one-third nitrogen after first irrigation, and the remaining one-third nitrogen after second irrigation. 

Fertilizer application for different crop development stages

The nutritional requirements for Barley vary depending on the stage of crop development. Find out which nutrients are most important and the role of nutrients in different stages of development. 


  • Nitrogen for rapid growth. 
  • Phosphate provides energy for early growth and development, especially at the root mass. 


  • Nitrogen for leaf growth and size, increase tiller number per plant. 
  • Manganese for its role in the synthesis of photosynthetic proteins and enzymes. 

Stem extension 

  • Nitrogen for rapid plant growth and development. 
  • Phosphate provides energy for development and growth. 
  • Potassium for water regulation and structural integrity of plants. 
  • Sulfur to improve production and quality. 
  • Manganese for its role in the synthesis of photosynthetic proteins and enzymes. 
  • Zinc for enzyme reactions and protein synthesis.

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Barley Farm
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Grain filling

  • Nitrogen for higher yields through green leaf duration, grain size, grain site survival, and protein levels.
  • Magnesium for the period of green leaf.
  • Phosphate for dry matter rehabilitation to improve production. 
  • Boron for pollen viability


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