The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development is involved in all aspects of the barley value chain from pre-breeding research to support the development of new barley varieties through to barley agronomy research, development and extension, barley grain quality assessments and market intelligence work.

Barley is Western Australia’s second largest cereal crop after wheat – accounting for 25% of the state’s total grain production and delivering just over $1 billion in barley grain and malt export earnings each year.

Thirty per cent of barley produced is delivered as malting grade destined for the international beer industry with the remaining 70% delivered as feed grade – the majority of which is sent to the Middle East.


  • Older plants are stunted with thin spindly stems and pale yellow foliage marked with necrotic lesions.

    Western Australia (WA) agricultural soils, particularly acidic sands, are inherently low in magnesium but deficiency is rare in broadacre crops.


  • Stunted plant with youngest leaves affected first

    Boron deficiency is rare in cereals in Western Australia (WA) and will impact broadleaf crops such as lupin and canola before affecting cereals like wheat and barley.

  • Large elongated mid-brown blotches surrounded by a margin of chlorotic tissue

    A fungal foliar disease caused by Pyrenophora wirreganensis that primarily infects a range of grasses and can be found on paddock and road verges in spring.

  • Roots of affected plants are blackened and brittle and break easily, and are black to the core not just on outer surface.

    A fungal root disease that can cause severe yield losses of wheat and barley especially in medium- to high-rainfall areas.


  • Pale plants with bright yellow older leaves amongst areas of better growth.

    Potassium is a major nutrient that is increasingly required as soil reserves become depleted.

  • Grains are replaced by brown-black balls

    A fungal disease affecting seed heads, which can cause yield losses and delivery penalties.


  • Light brown pustule on upper leaf surface that darken with age

    A fungal leaf disease specific to barley that can spread rapidly within and between crops causing yield losses of up to 45% in susceptible varieties.


  • Florets are replaced with a mass of dark brown-black powdery spores that blow away.

    A fungal disease affecting seed heads, which can cause yield losses and delivery penalties.


  • Dark brown spots that elongate and produce dark brown net-type streaks

    Net-type net blotch is a stubble-borne fungal foliar disease occurring more frequently in the medium and high rainfall areas of the WA wheatbelt. It can reduce grain yield and quality.

  • Roots stunted, short and stubby with few laterals.

    A widespread fungal root disease that attacks seedlings but which rarely causes large yield losses.


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