There are many different risks to your barley crops at this time of year.  Insect pests aren't a large concern in this area, as they are to canola and wheat crops, but temperature is something to watch for. 

"When we're starting the seed right from the get-go, even the soil temperature and soil conditions, if its cool and wet, we're looking to use a seed treatment like a fungicide, to protect from diseases. This is just a starting point for our barley crop," explains Melissa McWilliam, Farming and Resources Manager with Western Feedlots. "As we move forward we're looking for disease in crops as well as weed pressure."  When conditions are wet and cooler, McWilliam says they also may use a half rate fungicide at the time of spray application, just to protect the crop.  

There are other things you can use to prevent your barley from being damaged.  "I definitely say a good grassy weed herbicide is critical. If I have a high density wild oat population in a barley crop, I would use something like Axial, which is a stronger herbicide on wild oat," she adds.  

McWilliam says you need to make sure you are using things that wont harm your crops. "I use the blue book a lot actually," she says. "It's also important to watch out for timing, certain herbicides are registered between certain stages of the crop growth. So spraying too early or too late may actually harm your crop."