Foxtail Barley

Foxtail barley is a perennial weed, reproducing by seeds. The stems are typical round hollow grass stems, 1-2 ft. tall, swollen nodes and exist as a bunch grass from a mass of fibrous roots. The leaves are rough, greyish-green and predominantly ribbed. The flowers are dense, unbranched, nodding spikes, 5-12 cm long, with a "foxtail" of awns which are greenish-purple in colour. At maturity the awns fade to straw colour or almost white. The seeds are a yellow caryopsis with very long awns, up to 7.5. This weed is a prolific seed producer. Seeds can be dispersed a great distance by wind.

Scouting Techniques
Take a minimum of 20 weed counts across the field. Scout frequently after periods of high temperatures because this weed thrives under those conditions. Also scout saline areas, foxtail barley is resiliant to high salinity. A particular problem in reduced tillage and direct seeding systems.

Effects on Crop Quality
This weed, because it harbors wheat rust and blackstem rust, can indirectly affect the development of field crops.

Threshold/Yield Loss

Control Tips

  • Cut for hay before seed forms
  • Seed pasture with competitive grass
  • Early spring grazing causes a set back
  • Control water level in low lying areas to prevent salinity increase
  • Group 3 (Kerb 50-w), Group 22 (Gramoxone)