Barley is an important cool season cereal crop grown primarily for its grain, but it also produces valuable forage that can be grazed, cut for hay or silage while still green, or cut after grain harvest as straw. The widespread use of barley forage for feeding purposes is relatively new. Whole plant silage is now an important feed for ruminants as well as for other species.
Barley is a universal cereal and can grow in a wide range of climates under irrigation or dryland production, however it is best suited to cooler drier regions with rich, well-drained, loamy soils.
Quick germination, and rapid growth allows it to out-compete weeds
Early production of large amounts of biomass
Tolerant of low fertility, high pH, and sandy soils
Scavenges available nitrogen from the ground
Easy control by both chemical and mechanical means