Developing Profitable Double-Crop Systems after Winter Barley

Project Overview

Project Type: Partnership
Funds awarded in 2018: $26,730.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2020
Grant Recipient: Michigan State University
Region: North Central
State: Michigan
Project Coordinator:
Dr. Maninderpal Singh
Michigan State University


  • Agronomic: barley, soybeans


  • Crop Production: cover crops, double cropping
  • Education and Training: extension, on-farm/ranch research

    Proposal abstract:

    Inclusion of winter barley in cropping systems can increase crop diversity, thus potentially buffering against volatile or low commodity prices. The rapidly expanding craft malting and brewing industries creates a demand for regionally grown barley and can provide a more stable market value for barley growers. Furthermore, winter barley can be harvested up to three weeks before winter wheat, which provides a critical window to add a second crop and improve net profit per acre. In addition to potential economic benefits, double-cropping winter barley and soybeans can improve environmental sustainability by requiring lower inputs than corn or spring barley, providing a winter “cover,” and subsequently placing lower stress on water quality compared to other traditional field crops. To examine the potential for double-cropping with malting barley in the Great Lakes region, a diverse team of farmers, industry representatives, MSU Extension Educators and faculty have assembled to explore this opportunity through on-farm research and targeted outreach efforts. Although the project will be based in southern and mid-Michigan, its outcomes will impact the entire North Central Region where winter malting barley is a re-emerging crop but lacks significant research on double-cropping options.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    The project goal is to develop agronomic management practices and better understand the economics of double- cropping beans after winter barley. Objectives include:

    • Support on-farm research trials throughout Michigan, representing the Great Lakes region where malting barley is a re-emerging crop
    • Evaluate detailed research questions related to double-crop integration in a controlled university setting
    • Further develop a robust partnership between farmers, extension, faculty, and industry
    • Distribute information throughout the region on methods and economics to farmers, industry representatives, and educators
    • Explore potential for improved profitability of barley cropping systems and increased ecosystem services (e.g. soil health, reduced nutrient loss, increased biodiversity)
    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.