Barley is one of the world’s most important cereal crops after wheat, maize, and rice. It occupies fourth rank in the world. Barley was mainly cultivated and used for human food supply in ancient times but now-a-days it is significantly grown for animal feed and malt products. Barley is predominantly consumed as food crop in the semi-arid regions of Africa (Morocco, Algeria, Libya and Tunisia), Middle East (Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq and Syria), highlands of Nepal, Ethiopia and Tibet, Andean countries of South America (Peru and Chile) and in some Asian counties (China, North Korea and Himalaya). In India, it is staple food of the northern hills people and also used for food and feed purposes in other plain parts of the country as Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh.

Among cereals, barley is most preferred for malt, as its husk protecting the coleoptiles (acrospire) during germination process and provides aid in filtration, firm texture of grains and its amylases activity makes it unique for malt recovery. In context of the nutritional values barley grains have higher soluble dietary fibre and lower low density lipoprotein (LDL) content than that of wheat. Soluble fibre has a cholesterol lowering property and LDL cholesterol is the fraction associated with increased risk of heart diseases.

Storage is an essential interim operation in the food pipeline that moves crops from producer to processor and foodstuffs from processor to consumer. In developed countries storages losses on an annual basis are usually less than 1% while in developing countries these have been estimated conservatively as 10-15%. Losses of biological origin such as grain or insect or limited drying due to aeration of grain in storage are common. These losses can be minimized by adopting good package and practices and proper post harvest handling of the grains. So the thorough knowledge of storage pest and other harmful agents in this regard is necessary. Storage pest and fungi of barley are given below-

Storage pests of barley:


Scientific Name

Common Name


Trogoderma granarium

Khapra beetle

Rhyzopertha dominica

Lesser grain borer

Oryzaephilus surinamensis

Saw toothed grain beetle

Tribolium castaneum

Red flour beetle

Sitophilus oryzae

Rice weevil

Sitophilus zeamais

Maize weevil


Sitotroga cerealella

Angoumois grain moth

Plodia interpunctella

Indian meal moth


Acarus siro

Grain mite

Storage fungi:

The most important fungal species causing spoilage of barley in storage belong to the genus Aspergillus, Penicillium, Rhizopus, Mucor etc. Degree of infection and losses caused by these fungi largely depends on availability of free moisture, relative humidity and temperature etc.

Some of the practices for safe storage of barley grains are given below: 

Better package and practices:

 Most of the storage micro-organism and pest favours low quality, shrivelled and broken grains because it is easily penetrable to them. So the better package and practices and proper harvesting procedure should be adopted to ensure the good quality seed with minimum breakage to the grains.


 Many storage diseases and pests favour moist grains in storage. These include micro-organisms and other storage pests. So the barley grains must be dried before putting in granaries. For this purpose harvested crop is left in open and sunny place for drying and appropriate care should be taken of aeration.


 Barley grains are important for malting and feeding industries. During the cleaning process materials should be separated as stones, weed seeds and broken grains.

Safe storage:

Farmers should keep the crop in closed areas in depots made by brick, cement, and wood etc. The storage facilities should have sufficient isolations and controllable atmosphere to create the most adverse conditions for the development and multiplication of micro-organisms and pests. Care should be taken of unbalanced humidity, temperature and O2 /CO2 levels which allow infestation of the stored grains by micro-organisms (as fungi), insect pests and rodents. Generally barley is stored for a short period under shelter or in depots in order not to be affected by rainfall or other adverse climatic events. Horizontal type adobe depots are used by rural people as their economic status permits only this type of depots. The insect pests existing in the store can be destroyed before the grain is stored with the use of chemicals i.e. Malathion etc. Further, the modern silos can be a better option for storage of big quantities to be used for commercial purposes.


Proper care must be taken as not to leave any holes or cracks on the walls of storage. Mechanical traps with attractive food such as chapatti can be used to trap the rats in the rural areas and small farms. However, medium size farmers tend to use rodenticides in various formulations. For example the rodents can be chemically controlled through placement of pellets of the poisonous rodenticides (Zinc phosphide 80-95%) in the grain stores.

Chemicals/ protectants:

Diatomaceous earths, silica aero gels, and activated clays in the form of inert dust act as toxic and repellent insecticide. The insecticides acting as effective grain protectants include Malathion 50% EC (1:100 with water @ 3 litres/100 sq.m) and Dichlorvos 100% EC (1:300 with water @ 3 litres/100 sq.m).


It is necessary to fumigate the stores to destroy storage pest or decrease their population. Various agents can be used for fumigation for example Phosphine (@ 2 tablets/10 q) etc.




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