- Main article: Barley
Barley is one of the different types of crops in Farming Simulator 15. Although slightly less lucrative than Wheat, Barley is a very close alternative. Barley is simple and very fast to work, and provides free Straw.
Barley is one of the three principle crops that the player can immediately begin to grow at game-start, since all of the equipment is already available.
Barley is planted using a regular Sowing Machine, on a field that has been prepared by a Cultivator or Plow. There are 3 Sowing Machines available in the base game. More advanced Barley Sowing Machines also cultivate the soil as they sow, removing the need to pre-cultivate it.
After four growing phases (about 21 hours of in-game time, at the "Fast" growing speed setting), Barley is ready to harvest. There are many Harvesting Headers in the game that are capable of harvesting Barley, and most are quite wide, meaning that the work should be done rather quickly.
As with all other crops, a Barley field can be Fertilized in order to double its yield.
Harvested Barley can be stored in Tipper Trailers or offloaded into the Silo at the farm. It can be sold in a variety of locations on each map, for a variable price that depends on current market forces. Generally, Barley gives only slightly less cash reward per each hectare compared to Wheat, and slightly more than Canola. It is also far more lucrative than Corn, but much less lucrative than the root plants (Potatos and Sugar Beets).
While harvesting Barley, the harvester may be instructed to leave a Straw swath behind it. This is a free resource, and there is no real reason to disable Straw swathing. Straw can only be created from Wheat and Barley. It is an important resource for improving Milk yields from Cows. Since it is basically free, Straw is a good "filler" component in Total Mixed Ration (TMR), a high-yield Cow feed, but it is not strictly required in the mixture.
Sowing Barley Edit
The process of sowing Barley generally begins with cultivation of the field, to remove the remains of whatever crop grew there previously. This is a necessary step even if the field was previously used for Barley. Any Cultivator or Plow is suitable for this task. The wider the Cultivator/Plow, the faster the work will go.
Any piece of cultivated soil can then be worked with a Sowing Machine that is capable of planting Barley. There are 3 such devices available in the base game: The Pottinger Vitasem 302 ADD (the player will have one of these at game-start), the Vaderstad Rapid A 600S, and the Horsch Pronto 9 SW.
The primary difference between these machines (other than their price) is their working width - the larger the Sower, the faster it will finish working the entire field. However, the two larger Sowers (the Rapid A and the Pronto 9) also serve as Cultivators - they will cultivate the soil as they pass over it, removing the need to make a separate Cultivator pass over the field first, as described above. In other words, you can start sowing the field with these machines as soon as you're done harvesting the previous crop. The three Sowing Machines also differ from one another in what other crops they can sow, but all three are capable of sowing Wheat, Barley, Canola, and Grass.
Remember that the Sowing Machine must be filled with seeds before it can be put to work. This can be done by pulling the machine to the Seed Pallets at your farm, and hitting the Refill button. You may not sow manually with an empty Sowing Machine. A Hired Worker can work even with an empty machine, but at a much higher price than normal.
About 500 liters of seeds are required to plant one hectare of Barley. This translates to roughly $300 worth of seeds per hectare.
Barley Growth Edit
Barley grows at the same rate as most other crops. It requires 4 growth cycles to become ready for harvest, at which point it will turn visibly yellow. Growth times are not exact, but on the "Fast" growth speed setting it will take about 21-22 hours of in-game time for the entire field to ripen.
Once ripe, the Barley will go through two extra stages of ripeness (taking another 10 hours or so at "Fast" speed). You may harvest Barley during any of these ripe stages - the yield does not change beyond the first ripeness stage.
At the 7th, final stage, Barley will wither - assuming the option of withering crops is enabled (otherwise it will remain ripe forever). Once withered, Barley cannot be harvested anymore, and must instead be cultivated or plowed to make room for a new crop.
Harvesting Barley Edit
Each of the Harvesters in the game (aside from the Krone Big X 1100, which is not really a Harvester) has at least one header capable of harvesting Barley.
When unfolded and activated, the Harvester will pass over the Barley field, destroying the plants and creating Barley yield, which is stored within the Harvester. The Harvester can then use its pipe to unload the Barley into a Tipper Trailer. This can be done while the Harvester is working, or after it has stopped.
One hectare will yield about 11,000 liters of Barley, or 22,000 liters if fertilized.
Straw Swath Edit
When a Harvester is equipped with the correct Header, it can be instructed to enable "Straw Swath". While this option is enabled, if the Harvester is harvesting a Barley field, it will leave behind a trail of Straw as it works. The "Straw Swath" option can only be toggled on if this harvester's last crop was Wheat or Barley - otherwise the game will refuse to enable the option until Wheat or Barley are harvested.
Straw can then be collected using a specialized machine called a Baler, which will pick up the Straw and turn it into packets of 4,000 liters each.
The Straw bales can then be transported to the Cow Pasture, where they will serve either as bedding for Cows (increasing their productivity by a small margin), or as filler in Total Mixed Ration (a potent cow feed).
NOTE: Enabling Straw Swath does not reduce the yields from your Barley crops. You will receive the same amount of Barley from a field whether or not you make Straw as well. Therefore, it is often best to leave the Straw Swath option enabled, if you have the equipment to collect it, so you can sell it or use it for food.
Selling Barley Edit
Harvested Barley can be sold at a variety of different places on each map. Each of these locations, marked by a white "offload" icon, has a grated dumping chamber embedded into the road, where Barley can be unloaded for sale.
These dumping chambers are used the same as the Silo back at your farm. Drive a tractor or truck towing a Tipper Trailer with Barley in it over the dumping chamber, and press the key to unload. Note that some Tippers can only unload behind them, requiring you to drive a little past the grate. Others can unload sideways as well.
Barley is sold immediately as it is unloaded from the Tipper. Each ton (1,000 liters) unloaded from the Tipper will give you around $500-$700 (Normal difficulty). The exact price will differ from one selling location to another, and also depends on several market factors. Repeatedly selling large quantities of Barley over a period of several hours or days may cause the price to drop (it will recover over time). Alternatively, if Great Demand is in effect for the specific location where you are unloading, the price may be up to 2 times higher than normal!
Price Comparisons Edit
An unfertilized hectare produces about 11,000 liters of Barley, which is just a little less than Wheat per hectare. On the other hand, the top price for Barley is normally around $730 per ton, which is just a little more than the top price for Wheat. When these numbers are put together, we find that Barley fetches about $16,500 per hectare - only very slightly less lucrative than Wheat. This, coupled with the fact that both Barley and Wheat can produce Straw, makes the two crops nearly interchangeable.
Therefore, Wheat and Barley can be safely grown in alternation. By growing both crops, you can ensure that a drop in the price of one of them can be offset by simply growing and selling the other crop. This also increases your chance of capitalizing on Demand Missions and Great Demands, when they occur.
Barley is a little more lucrative than Canola. However, the small yield / high price of Canola means that during the early game, working a Canola field with your starting harvester may take less time than working a Barley field, but not much less.
While Barley is significantly less lucrative than Potato or Sugar Beet, it takes far less time to harvest, and requires much less expensive machinery (you start the game with enough machinery to grow and harvest Barley). Later on, however, you may find yourself growing Barley specifically for its Straw yield, while growing Potato and Sugar Beet fields for the actual income.