By Laura Lindsey and Raj Shrestha, Ohio State University Extension
Due to growing interest in winter malting barley, we conducted a nitrogen rate and seeding rate trial during the 2017-2018 growing season. The trials were conducted at the Northwest Agricultural Research Station (NWARS) in Wood County, the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) in Wayne County, and the Western Agricultural Research Station (WARS) in Clark County. The first-year research reports and Malting Barley Production Guide can be found here: https://stepupsoy.osu.edu/winter-malting-barley.
Summary of nitrogen rate results
We evaluated the effect of four spring N application rates: 0, 40, 80, and 120 pounds of N per acre. (Each field received approximately 20 lb N per acre in the fall and cultivar ‘Puffin’ was planted.) Nitrogen was applied at Feekes 5 growth stage. The agronomic optimum N rate (N rate where grain yield was greatest) ranged from 100-119 lb N per acre depending on the location.
However, protein content of the grain is extremely important, which is influenced by N application rate. For the malting industry, grain protein should be 9.5% to 12.5% on a dry weight basis. In our trials, grain protein content increased with increasing N application rate. At the Wood County location (NWARS), average grain protein was ≤ 12.5% regardless of spring N application rate. At the Clark County (WARS) and Wayne County location (OARDC), average grain protein content exceeded 12.5% when 80 pounds of N per acre or more was applied.
Summary of seeding rate results
We evaluated the effect of five seeding rates: 0.75, 1.0, 1.5, 2.0, and 2.5 million seeds per acre on the cultivar ‘Puffin.’ Barley was planted Sept. 29, Oct. 7, and Oct. 19 at the Northwest Agricultural Research Station (NWARS) in Wood County, the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) in Wayne County, and Western Agricultural Research Station (WARS) in Clark County, respectively. Overall, there was a poor relationship between seeding rate and grain yield. However, the agronomic optimum seeding rate (seeding rate where grain yield was greatest) was 1.6-1.8 million seeds per acre. Barley should be planted based on the number of seeds per acre. Planting by pounds per acre or bushels per acre is inaccurate due to variability in seed size. Keep in mind, barley seed is often large (fewer seeds per pound). In our trials, “Puffin” had ~10,000 seeds per pound.
This research was funded by the Ohio Small Grains Marketing Program.