Barley planting season in northeastern United States is approaching and now is a good time to review a few notes from last year’s observations are appropriate, according to Penn State Extension scientist, Gregory Roth.

This year has had great corn yields and above average precipitation in some areas. If you are following a high yielding corn crop that may have run out of N, then soil nitrate levels may be low and some fall N (20 to 30 pounds per acre) might be useful. On well manured soils this may not be necessary.

Another consideration is planting date. We suggest seeding winter barley between September 10 and 20 in short season areas, between September 15 and 25 in medium season areas, and between September 30 and October 5 in full season areas.

If you plant too early you can predispose your crop to excessive growth in the fall and this can lead to stand reductions and winterkill. Also, if you plant very early varieties, like Atlantic, Secretariat or Eve they can head out early and be susceptible to a late spring frost.

We had a late April freeze last year and lost our Secretariat and Nomini in one of our tests. If you have concerns about late spring freezes and want to plant early, the later varieties would have a lower risk.

Last year it was noticed that there were beardless varieties planted, suspected to be Nomini. Some of this is likely for direct cut silage where the beardless varieties are preferred.

If you are growing for grain, you might consider a newer variety with higher yield potential and better grain quality. In a 3-year summary of performance data in Virginia, for example, Nomini yielded over 20 bushels per acre lower than Secretariat, with a test weight of 41 pounds versus 46 for Secretariat.