Barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) is an annual cereal crop, belonging to the family of Poaceae, and is considered to be the fourth most-important crop in the world after wheat, maize and rice. The crop originated in the Middle East. It was used as feed for animals during early periods. Currently, it is used as food, feed and mainly for the preparation of alcoholic beverages. Barley is a short growing season crop and has good drought tolerance. In India, Barley is popularly called as “Jau”.

Conditions of Growth:
Barley may be grown in subtropical climatic condition. The crop requires around 12-15 0C during growing period and around 30 0C at maturity. Barley requires cool weather during early growth and warm and dry weather at maturity. It grows reasonably well in temperate as well as in sub-tropical regions of the world. Being drought resistant, barley suits areas with scanty rainfall. The crop possess very high degree of tolerance to drought and sodic condition.

Season and Area of Cultivation
Barley is planted as a winter or summer crop in different countries. Generally, Barley is cultivated as a rabi season crop in India and sowing being undertaken from October to December and harvesting from March to May. Harvesting starts from end-March until mid-April in the northern states, whereas in the central and southern states, harvesting takes place from February to May. The market arrivals start from March onwards. In India, the crop duration of barley is 120-150 days. Barley is mainly grown in Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, West Bengal and Jammu Kashmir.

Facts and Figure
In India, area under barley cultivation is around 0.65million ha with the production of 1.60 million MT and productivity of 2.46 t/ha in TE-2016-17. Area under barley cultivation showed a decreasing trends during 2000-01 to 2007-08.thereafter fluctuation has been recorded in the area under barley cultivation. Production of barley crop showed a slightly decreasing trends during 2000-01 to 2005-06. Thereafter, production of barley increased but again went down in 2015-16.Yield levels of barley witnessed an increasing trends with certain degree of fluctuation.

Main Exporters
Major barley exporting countries are Australia (23.0 %) followed by France (14. %), Russia (10.0 %), Ukraine (10 %), Argentina (7.0 %) and Germany (6%) (2017).

Major Importer
Major importing countries of barley are China (26.5%), Saudi Arabia (11.7%), Iran (7.6 %), Netherlands (5.6 %), Belgium (5.1 %) and Japan (3.9 %) in the world in 2017.

Cost and Prices
In 2019-20, projected cost of production (A2 +FLPer quintal) of barley is Rs. 860. Recommended MSP for 2019-20 is Rs.1440 per quintal. MSP is 167 percent of (A2 +FL)