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The area of winter barley planted in Ireland ranges from around 60,000 up to 80,000 ha in recent years. This area is influenced by planting opportunities in the autumn and grain price. Yields are dependent on the growing season but target yields of 10.0 t/ha are achievable. Teagasc E-profit monitors show that winter barley is one of the most profitable crops especially where there is a market for straw.
To achieve exceptional yields, winter barley crops need optimum growing conditions throughout the season to enable strong vegetative growth, ear growth and development and grain filling. Teagasc research indicates that ear number has the biggest influence on grain yield, there is a relatively low correlation between grain weight or size and final yield. Barley yield is determined early but the number of tillers produced i.e. 1,100 -1,200 tillers/m2 to produce head number of approximately 1,000 ears/m2.