Barley is the fourth largest cereal crop after maize, rice and wheat with 132 million tonnes produced annually. World Barley production doubled in the period from 1961-1979, reaching its peak in 1991 at 170 million tonnes. Since then production had declined to 132 million tonnes, 78% of its peak.
The 132 million tonnes was harvested off 48.5 million hectares, with the single largest area grown in the Russian Federation who has 16% of the total production area. The largest area grown within the EU is in Spain with 2.7 million hectares.
If production is calculated by volume rather than area, then the Russian Federation and Ukraine still lead the way, however France and Germany then move up to 3rd and 4th respectively.
Barley yields vary widely across the world from 0.34 t/ha up to the highest being achieved in the United Arab Emirates at 8.21 t/ha, closely followed by Ireland at 7.82 t/ha. As with many of the crops across the world yield progress has declined in recent years, although the average barley yield is still 207% higher than it was in the 1961.