With Cereal Rye in short supply, many growers have turned to raising Winter Barley as an alternative cover crop.
Here’s why winter barley could be a valuable addition to your cover crop mix:


  • It prefers growing in cool, dry soils
  • Fall planted barley can have roots up to 6.5’ by late spring
  • Quick germination, and rapid growth in the fall means it can
    out compete many winter annual weeds
  • Due to early maturity, barley will produce more biomass quicker
    in the spring when compared to other covers
  • Barley can handle low fertility, high pH, and sandier soils
    better than cereal rye
  • It will scavenge more available nitrogen from the ground
    than annual rye
  • For producers concerned about the height of cereal rye – barley has
    a shorter height, more comparable to wheat
  • It can be both mechanically or chemically controlled fairly easily


Check out the links below for more information about Winter Barley:

Barley – Cover Crops Database

Barley – Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education

Contact Eric Eberhard to see if winter barley would work for your farm!
SCD office: 419-447-7073


About Eric Eberhard

If we maintain and respect the natural resources we have now, we can develop a legacy for generations to come; and they might also be inspired to do the same. As the new District Technician, I hope to use my knowledge of agronomy and AG retail to over-come the problems we are seeing with our natural resources. My pride in conservation reflects the practices on my family farm where everything is no-till and cover cropped. I really enjoy farming in Seneca County because of how adaptive the producers are. They are willing to try new things that may be outside of their comfort zone but will help make for a better tomorrow for us all.

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