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Rolling Through the Barley Plots


Rolling barley impact your yield and help your equipment!

Our project is investigating the best time to roll your barley plots. Rolling barley pushes rocks into the soil, avoiding damage when it comes time to silage the field.

This year, we’ve increased the size of our plots. While this helps decrease variability, we found increasing the length of the field allowed for added convenience with lining up the lots & getting the roller positioned.

Similar to last year, we are keeping an eye on the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th leaf stage as well as 1st node. As well, we’ve kept reps 1 & 3 together. Reps 2 & 4 were double the size as the plots last year.

Additionally, this year we’ve sent biomass samples for feed testing. We were curious if any nutrient levels were changing across rolling groups. Last year, we noticed that seed quality went down in the later rollings, this prompted the question – “would quality of seed be impacted by later rollings?”

We are still waiting for those results to come in, keep an eye out for any updates.

Rolling through our results!

While most of the growing season was afflicted with drought conditions, our early rolling tests say heavy moisture. Surprisingly, in such a hot year we had more problems with moisture than the heat! During the 2nd leaf timing, we saw many rainy days which made rolling difficult. Leaves were pulled off stalks, but it didn’t appear to hurt the crop as we saw no visible signs of injury throughout the growing process.

Because of the heat, things quickly grew this year. Our irrigation plots saw this at an increased rate. This made our timing quite difficult. During the final leaf stage, we waited over a weekend to roll, hoping for better conditions, and when we made it to the field, we found we were almost too late. This means, if you want to roll before the first node, waiting in that fourth leaf stage could mean it’s too late.

While we can’t quite say this will happen every year, we can confidently say that spraying herbicide and rolling shortly after can harm the plant. As well, we visually saw injury to the crops that were rolled during the first leaf. Stalks bent over, growing parallel to the ground for a few days before rising back up.

While we wait for our biomass results, we estimate some lost biomass – primarily due to how low you can set the equipment for cutting. However, we did see some plants that were dying early & thinning as a direct result to our rolling in the 1st node stage.

This year was the final year for the project as it’s planned so far. Contact Trevor Deering to discuss the project further!

To learn more about the project, visit the project page!

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