Barley lodging refers to the collapse of the barley stem as a result of failure to support its own weight of kernels.
It is a phenomenon most cereal crop varieties are susceptible to in varying degrees.
Types of lodging
- Root lodging: Occurs early in the season and it is the most common type of lodging.
- Stem failure: Occurs later in the season as the stalk becomes more brittle due to crop maturation.
Lodging is costly due to its effects on grain formation and the associated harvesting problems and losses.
It takes about twice the time to harvest a lodged crop than a standing one.
Growth, in combination with a flattened crop, makes harvesting difficult and can subsequently lead to poor grain quality and low yields.
Effective prevention requires knowledge of potential causes. Lodging occurs when gravity pulling the crop to the ground is greater than the counter forces from the stem structure that maintain the upright position. Failure will normally occur at the weakest point.
Causes of lodging
- Over-tall or over-heavy stems. This may be caused by excess nitrogen fertilizers.
- Thin weak-walled stems are highly susceptible
- Management of lodging should be focused on matching varieties to the correct site and the soil fertility.