Learn about barley, it’s health benefits, and products made from this cereal grain!
This crop looks a lot like wheat! It is also grown and harvested the same.
Barley has been found to be a good source of protein, vitamins, and dietary fiber. It even has been shown to lower cholesterol, improve blood sugar and heart disease when the whole grain has been consumed as part of a healthy diet.
The National Barley Foods Council1 said the most common uses in the USA for this cereal grain is:
- to produce malt (an important ingredient in beer production) (44% of total USA production),
- animal feed (15% of total USA production),
- for seed (3% of total USA production), and
- for human food products (2% of total USA production).
Here are some examples of what 1 acre of barley could potentially produce and a few benefits for using this crop:
- Beef & Barley Soup – 174,180 servings of Beef and Barley Soup.
- Livestock Feed: Barley that doesn’t make the grade for human consumption can be fed to a steer. In the 1950’s, it took nearly twice as much feed to produce a pound of beef. Now, we use less feed, less land, less water and produce less greenhouse gas and manure2.
- Baby Breakfast Cereal – (1 cup ground barley flour feeds 4 baby meals3) One acre feeds 47,076 babies ¼ cup of barley breakfast cereal
- Livestock bedding – Barley and wheat straw is used as bedding for livestock on the farm. One acre will produce at least 85 bales (45 lbs each)
Assumption: One acre is roughly the size of a football field without the goal posts. Yields average 50 – 80 bushels per acre, approx. 14,300 seeds per pound, 48 pounds per bushel4 = 3,840 lbs (1,742 kg or 8,709 cups raw pearled5) (11,769 cups of barley flour6) per acre. 1 cup pearled barley is 20 servings of soup x 8,709 cups = One acre of pearled barely makes 174,180 servings of Beef and Barley Soup.
Images courtesy of: https://pixabay.com/en/photos/barley/, http://www.shape.com/healthy-eating/diet-tips/barley-packs-some-major-bod-benefits, https://phys.org/news/2012-10-barley-genome-unravelled-bigger.html, http://www.foodnetwork.com/topics/barley