Grain quality traits important in feed barley
Spring barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) traditionally has been a major cereal crop for animal feed especially in Northern areas and also in Latvia. It is complicated to define what the ideal feed barley should be, as the requirements widely differ not only for different species, but even for different age groups of the same species of animals. Therefore, the breeding of feed barley has been developing very slowly and building on the basis of agronomic and beer barley quality parameters. Targeted breeding of barley varieties for a definite application purpose of the grain is connected with selection according to different criteria. The present article shows that the feed quality of barley is influenced both by physical grain quality indicators (colour, grain weight and size, hull content, 1000 grain weight, volume weight and grain hardness) and by the chemical composition (carbohydrates, non-starch polysaccharides, amino acids, fibre, protein, fat, minerals and vitamins). On the basis of the information collected, a profile of a high quality feed barley variety for different groups of animals is defined.