This article focuses on barley farming in Kenya. Barley is a cereal grain and a member of the grass family. It is mainly grown in temperate regions.
Barley can be used as fodder for animals or used to make beer. Most of the barley grown in Kenya is used by brewing industries to make beer.
Main Barley Growing Areas in Kenya
Ecological Requirements for Growing Barley
- Deep and fertile loam soils with pH of 6.0 to 7.5.
- Rainfall of 390- 430 mm.
- Temperature of 12°c- 15°c during the period of growing and 30°c during maturity.
Varieties Grown in Kenya
Land Preparation and Planting
Before planting, land should be well prepared and proper weeding is done. You can use recommended herbicides to control weeds.
The appropriate planting space is 20cm between rows and 10-15 cm between plants. With this spacing, 30-40 kgs of seeds are enough for an acre.
After about 35 days of planting, a fungicide should be applied. Before flowering, it is necessary to apply foliar feed for the purpose of controlling weeds.
Pests and Diseases
Just like any other plants, barley is susceptible to diseases such as head blight, covered smut, leaf rust, stem rust and powdery mildew. The best way to control the diseases is by planting resistant varieties.
Barley takes 60-70 days to be ready for harvesting. It is ready for harvesting when the seed heads start dropping. Another indication of maturity is when the stalk changes colour from green to yellow.
Harvesting is best done early in the morning when it is still cool.
Market for Barley in Kenya
Brewing industries are the biggest consumers of barley in Kenya. Most farmers in Kenya sell their produce to beer-making industries such as the East African Breweries (EABL).
Barley is also used as animal fodder. You can sell it to livestock farmers as food for their animals.