• Soil texture
    crop soil texture
    Medium heavy soils, no waterlogging, dry cultivation
  • Min. temperature
    crop temperature icon
  • pH
    Spring Barley crop pH value
    Tolerant of slightly acidic to slightly alkaline soils: pH optimal: 7.0
  • Water demand
    Spring Barley crop rainfall value
  • Vernalisation
    Spring Barley crop vernalisation
  • Plant density
    crop density
    Depending on date and variety 300-400 seeds/m²
  • Seeding Depth
    crop seeding depth
    2-4 cm
Spring Barley
Spring barley prefers medium heavy soils with no structural damage and with an adequate nutrient and water supply potential in spring. In lighter soils, regular precipitation is important, and an appropriate nutrient supply must be provided. However, spring barley is highly water efficient and can produce decent yields even in dry areas. Water-saving cultivation methods and adapted varieties are particularly sought after. Due to the fact that barley is day-neutral, the time of planting has little effect on its growth. Thanks to its short growth period and relatively low heat summation requirement (1200°C), it may also be considered for less optimal sites and high altitude areas. Spring barley produces its best yields in good soils with a neutral pH. Acidification and lime deficiency in the soil, as well as wet cultivation conditions reduces yield.
Key facts
  • malting barley fertilization with one NPK dose
  • N-splitting for feed barley and for high yield expectations
  • Ensure phosphorus supply during the tillering phase.
  • Liming is crucial in low pH soils.
General Information
General Information
Nutrient demand
Nutrient demand
There are differences in the nutrient requirements, and therefore in the fertilization of feed barley and malting barley. While full grains and a high protein content are relevant for feed barley, the lowest possible protein content and a very good germination capacity are desired for malting barley destined for brewing purposes. Depending on fertilization intensity, the lodging behaviour of the varieties should be considered. Adequate plant protection measures are essential for high yields.
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Nutritional requirements
N-fertilization of barley is of paramount importance. Spring barley needs an appropriate nitrogen load for its vegetative development. Due to the particularly rapid development in spring compared to winter cereals, all necessary nutrients must be available in a short time. Fast-dissolving nutrients in complex fertilizers, and application immediately before cultivation have proved successful. Phosphate influences tillering and ensures an optimal crop density of 550-800 ears/m2. Under dry conditions and on light soil, a sufficient supply of manganese should be available during tillering. Spring barley reacts particularly sensitively under these conditions. An optimal supply of lime is important for a good soil structure and a soil pH which is as neutral as possible. Liming should be carried out in the crop rotation before spring barley is planted.
Demand and extraction quantities of spring barley



(Unit/t of production)


(Unit/t of production)

Sensitivity to deficiency




Very Sensitive




Very Sensitive




Very Sensitive










Manganese: 400-500g/ha

The table shows the uptake and removal per tonne of spring barley grain yield. Spring barley primarily requires fertilizers with a nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium content. However, sulphur, magnesium, and especially manganese are also required for adequate development. For example, a spring barley grain yield of 6t/ha absorbs 108kg N/ha. If 30kg N/ha is supplied from the soil, 80kg N/ha would need to be fertilized. 90kg N/ha will be removed from the field with harvest.
Fertilization depends on intended use

Spring barley needs nutrients concentrated until ear emergence. When producing malting barley, the aim is to achieve high yields but with a low protein content.
Total fertilization of malting barley before cultivation:
All of the nitrogen requirements for spring malting barley are fertilized before cultivation. Nutrient requirements in the first phase of growth are high. Therefore, splitting doses is only necessary when yield expectations are high. Phosphorus and potassium fertilizers are either used directly at cultivation as NPK fertilizers, or already applied in autumn or early spring. As soil preparation, liming should be done in autumn, or in early spring at the latest . 1,000kg/ha CaO - preferably in the form of calcium carbonate, can be considered a reference value. 

The yield parameters of spring barley:
  • Number of plants/m²
  • Number of culms with ears
  • Number of grains/ears
  • TGW

Good germination, optimal tillering and well-developed ears make for good yields. Tillage and sawing under dry conditions are a precondition for a good field emergence. Due to the short growth period, tillering must happen quickly and sufficient phosphate must be accessible to the plants at this stage. Effective nitrogen in the form of nitrate is necessary for vegetative growth and ear development. Slow acting N-forms (urea, ammonium stabilised N-fertilizers) impede flexible crop management.
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First application

First application image

Second application

Second application image

First application

For malting barley, a single dose of total nutrient requirements before cultivation:

Malting barley requires concentrated nutrients at the beginning of development. Thus, fertilization prior to sowing has proved successful. All of the nutrients can be applied in one dose. The nitrogen quantities required depends on mineralisation from the soil, and on the amount taken up by the barley; this corresponds to approximately 80kg N/ha. With the application of an NPK fertilizer, all the main nutrients are made directly available at the beginning of growth. During the short growth period from March to June, any nutrient deficiencies will lead to a considerable loss in yield. In dry phases 2l/ha manganese sulphate or manganese nitrate in liquid form ensure the yield potential during tillering.

Use NutriGuide to find the best product for your conditions.

Second application

For feed barley, additional nitrogen dose at the end of tillering:

For a well-developed feed barley with particularly high yield expectations, a fast-acting N-supplementary fertilization of 30-40 kg N/ha is necessary at the end of tillering. This dose maximises yield and leads to a high protein content, which is desirable for feed barley but not for malting barley. As a general rule for feed barley, apply 2/3 of the amount in the first dose and 1/3 in the second dose.