Barley (Hordeum vulgare L.), a member of the grass family, is a major cereal grain. It was one of the first cultivated grains on Earth and is now grown widely throughout the Union.


Barley is a widely adaptable crop. It is popular in temperate areas where it is grown as a summer crop and tropical areas where it is sown as a winter crop. Its germination time is one to three days. Barley grows under cool conditions, but is not particularly winter hardy. Barley has a short growing season and is also relatively drought tolerant.

Barley is more tolerant of soil salinity than wheat. Barley is not as cold tolerant as the winter wheats, fall rye or winter triticale, but may be sown as a winter crop in warmer areas.


Barley grain is a staple food in some cuisines. Barley has also been used as animal fodder, as a source of fermentable material for beer and certain distilled beverages, and as a component of various foods. It is used in soups and stews, and in barley bread of various cultures. Barley grains are commonly made into malt in a traditional and ancient method of preparation. In the last ranking of cereal crops in the Union, barley was fourth both in terms of quantity produced and in area of cultivation.

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