What are winter cereals?

Among the winter crops are winter cereals, one of the most widespread crops and whose production is increasing. Whether for human or animal consumption, winter cereal is a widely distributed crop. In this post we are going to see which are the most common winter cereals, what kind of varieties we should sow, what are their main subscriber requirements and their treatments .

Contents [ hide ]

  • 1 What are winter cereals?
  • 2 Main characteristics of winter crops
    • 2.1 Common wheat (Triticum aestivum)
      • 2.1.1 Sowing and varieties of common wheat
      • 2.1.2 Fertilizing common wheat
    • 2.2 Barley (Hordeum vulgare)
      • 2.2.1 Varieties of barley
      • 2.2.2 Barley fertilizer
    • 2.3 Oats
      • 2.3.1 Varieties of oats
      • 2.3.2 Subscribing the oats
    • 2.4 Rye
      • 2.4.1 Rye fertilizer
    • 2.5 Triticale
      • 2.5.1 Triticale fertilizer
  • 3 How can I keep track of all these crops and parameters?

What are winter cereals?

Winter cereals are annual herbaceous plants that comprise different species of winter crops such as common wheat (Triticum aestivum), durum wheat (Triticum durum), barley (Hordeum vulgare), rye (Secale cereale), triticale (X Triticosecale) or Avena (Avena sativa), among others.

What are winter cereals?

The use of winter crops is multiple:

  • Grain : for the production of feed for farm animals and for human consumption
  • Straw : source of lignin and cellulose as a complement to livestock feed, as well as to make beds for farm animals, padding for green roofs or thermal use (biomass).
  • Forage : to graze during the winter months, taking advantage of its regrowth for a later harvest.
  • Bioethanol : winter cereal is one of the main sources for the production of this biofuel.
The use of winter crops

Main characteristics of winter crops

To know a little more about winter cereals and decide which winter cereal best suits my conditions, it is important to know what technical needs they have and what their main advantages and disadvantages are. Let’s see in this guide the winter crops, for each winter cereal.

Common wheat (Triticum aestivum)

Common wheat is the majority crop within the winter crops in winter cereals. The common wheat is the one that is used for animal feeding and the elaboration of flours for human consumption.

Common wheat (Triticum aestivum)

Sowing and varieties of common wheat

The sowing of winter cereals depends on the variety of cereals that we want to implant. Let’s look at the case of wheat.

  • Long cycle: Long cycle varieties of soft wheat are sown in the fall as they require a period of cold hours. These varieties are very resistant to frost and have a great tillering capacity.
  • Short cycle : The short cycle varieties of soft wheat do not require hours of cold and are varieties that are called spring because they are sown at the end of winter and are used in cold areas. They have little tillering capacity.

Common wheat fertilizer

Fertilizing winter crops is essential to achieve optimal yields each season. Depending on whether we only collect the grain or we also extract the straw, there will be different needs. The main element to take into account is nitrogen, since it is essential to stimulate tillering and the gluten content of the grain.

It is recommended to add nitrogen in the form of slurry or urea intercalated so that the crop can absorb the necessary nitrogen depending on its growth stage.

Common wheat fertilizer

Barley (Hordeum vulgare)

Barley is another of the most common winter cereals. It has two main uses, feeding livestock and brewing beer.

Barley varieties

Two-course barley: it is the most popular and used variety of barley, it is used both for feeding animals and for brewing beer.

Six-race barley: it is a less known and used variety of barley as it requires higher water needs. As in the case of wheat, barley has short-cycle and long-cycle varieties.

Barley fertilizer

The fertilizer in winter crops such as barley is essential to be able to have a good harvest at the end of the season. The main elements to consider are nitrogen and potassium if the final destination of barley is the production of beer.

Nitrogen must be supplied in a dosed way so that the crop can take advantage of it according to its needs. A good fertilizer in the case of barley would be the contribution of manure prior to sowing, since it is rich in nitrogen and potassium. NPK-type mineral fertilizers are also an interesting solution as they slowly materialize in the field.

If you want to know more about the cultivation of barley, enter this post and subscribe to our newsletter.


Oats are one of the most interesting winter crops when planning our campaign. The final use of this winter cereal is twofold: grain production for human or animal feed and forage production for animal feed.


Varieties of oats

The temperature (climate) is what determines the variety of oats that we should choose. Like the other winter cereals, there are winter and spring varieties.

Oatmeal fertilizer

Among winter crops, oats are the ones with the longest root system, which makes them less demanding on a nutritional level. This winter crop adapts very well to nitrogen fertilizers, although it does not tolerate excess nitrogen. If the final use of oats is grazing or forage, we must increase the amount of nitrogen or associate it with a nitrogen-fixing crop such as vetches.


Rye is a less widely used winter cereal. Its main characteristic is rusticity. It adapts very well to all types of soils and climates. It is normally destined for less fertile plots. The main use of this winter crop is the production of feed or forage for grazing. However, in recent years, the consumption of flour for human consumption has grown.


Rye fertilizer

The rye fertilizer is mostly null or low, since it is a very rustic winter cereal. However, it is recommended to make three fertilizers, the first during tillering, the second during stem elongation and the third during heading. If the use of rye is for forage or grazing, an application prior to sowing or during tillering will suffice.


Triticale is a winter cereal produced artificially by crossing wheat and rye. This winter crop has the advantages of wheat in terms of grain yields and rye in its rusticity and adaptability to poorer soils. The main use of Triticale is similar to that of the other winter crops that we have seen: animal feed such as forage or feed.


Triticale subscriber

Triticale has nutritional requirements similar to those of previous winter crops. Although its rusticity makes it undemanding in nitrogen, if the crop is in rainy or irrigated areas and is on sandy soil, it is recommended to dose the fertilizer applications for their best use. It is estimated that the average amount of nitrogen per ha and campaign that must be supplied is 40-50 kgN / ha.

How can I keep track of all these crops and parameters?

With this guide to the main winter crops and their varieties and nutritional requirements, we see that there are many parameters to take into account in the management of our farm .

Paperwork and bureaucracy are heavy tasks to do. With Agroptima all this disappears, and you can manage your entire farm with your mobile phone. Tasks, costs, yields, notebooks, control of workers … now you can try it for free for 15 days.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *