Barley ranks fourth in importance among cereals, after wheat, corn and rice. It represents two-thirds of the fodder grains demanded by the world and most of it is used to feed livestock, with industrial consumption remaining practically stable.
Barley is considered a medium-energy grain, low in starch and high in fiber. Regarding protein levels, barley is similar to wheat and superior to corn, the level of this nutrient can vary between 9% and 12-13%.
It is an excellent source of some B vitamins (thiamine, riboflavin, pyridoxine, pantothenic acid) and niacin. Barley has a high fiber content, higher than that of corn and wheat, which results in a lower nutritional value for species sensitive to fiber content.
Barley is one of the grains most commonly used in feed for dairy cows and fattening cattle. Due to its high ruminal digestibility, barley has high metabolizable energy values for ruminants.