Barley Conditions in Israel March 2023 (Adar 5783)

Barley Conditions in Israel March 2023 (Adar 5783)

Yoel Halevi 2 comments

Definitions related to barley development observations according to the following:

Stages of Growth after Heading



            Soft Dough


First Edible Stage for Humans

            Aviv Stage (אָבִיב) –          Filled with Starch/Firm, can be parched in fire

            Karmel Stage (כַּרְמֶל)?

            Harvest Ready –              Kernal Hard (not dividable with thumbnail)


  1. Primary remarks are based on observations of wild barley (Hordeum spontaneum). Modern agricultural barley (Hordeum vulgare – two and six row) and wheat fields were also checked and compared.
  • A detailed but schematic description of the route followed for observing barley development is included for the sake of transparency so that everyone can understand the evidence more clearly.

            If this information is used for conducting independent barley observations, please respect others by being careful not to destroy the evidence that other groups may want to inspect after you.

Following are some notes regarding the state of barley growth in Israel from two recent trips:

Trip to the northern Negev on Tuesday, March 21, 2023 (Adar 28, 5783). 

Warm weather mostly overcast sky (20°C; 61% humidity)

Overview of Route:

Traveled west and then south from Jerusalem following Highways 1, 3, and 4 to Gaza, continuing SE on Road 34 towards Beersheva and returning toward Gaza on Road 25. South on Road 232 to Hanion Reim 

Continued to the area of Reim jct followed by Road 242 jct (checked fields on east and west sides), checked Tel Gamma, continued from Reim Jct along Road 234 to Road 241 continuing by Ofakim to Road 25. Road 25 was followed to Road 264 which was followed to Kama Jct. Returned to Jerusalem along Freeway 6 and then Highway 3 through Modiin to highway 443 and up to the Jerusalem area.


Note that this trip followed a period of relatively heavy rain throughout most of Israel (March 13-15; 18-20) and cold temperatures in the area. There were many pools of water and generally conditions were muddy. (Annual rainfall in the area so far is 93% of the average based on measurements in Beer Sheva).

Traveling West and then South from Jerusalem along Highways 1, 3, and 4 to Mordekhai Jct. – Considerable amounts of headed barley were regularly seen while driving.  

Mordekhai Jct. – the majority of the barley observed in the soft dough stage with some patches of aviv.

Along the route from Mordekhai Jct to Reim Park: 

Road 34 to Road 25, Road 25 to Road 232, Road 232 to Reim Park – considerable amounts of headed barley seen.

Reim Park (West of Road 232) –barley was found in the soft dough and aviv states. The area appears to have been largely grazed over by sheep/goats.

Reim Jct  (East of Road 232 and East of Nahal Besor) – some headed barley seen but overall there was not very much barley (probably because of the Beduin who live there with their sheep which were observed grazing in this area)

Reim Jct  (East of Road 232 and West of Nahal Besor) – barley in concentrated patches was very mixed in this area with examples of soft dough stage and aviv barley. Along the Derech Nof haBasor a sizeable enclosed field protected from grazing mainly contained wild barley, the majority of which was in the aviv state. Wheat in numerous very large modern agricultural fields was in the flowering stage (less advanced than the wild barley).

242 Jct  (West of Road 232) – The majority of the barley in a strip between the highway and agricultural fields was in the aviv stage of development with lesser amounts in the soft dough stage. Very large fields of modern two-row barley in agricultural fields were consistently in the flowering stage (less advanced than the wild barley).

Tel Gamma – barley was observed in various stages from soft dough through harvest ripe and beginning to shatter. There were considerable patches of barley that were in the aviv or even more advanced stages and beginning to shatter.

Reim Jct along Road 234 to Road 241 to Road 25 to Road 264 to Kama Jct – essentially the same as the observations from traveling from Mordekhai Jct to Reim Park. considerable amounts of headed barley seen.

Kama Jct along the 6 to the 3 and up to the Jerusalem area – In general the frequency of barley along freeway 6 is much lower than the other areas where we traveled. Considerable amounts of headed barley were seen along highways 3 and 443. 

Trip to the Jordan Valley on Wednesday, March 22, 2023 (Adar 29, 5783). 

Warm weather mixed with overcast and sunny sky. (23°C; 48% humidity) 

Overview of Route:

Traveled northeast from Jerusalem through Samaria following Highway 60 to Road 457. Traveled along Road 457 to Road 458 and then to Road 505. Followed Road 505 to Road 508 continuing to Khamra Jct on Highway 57 along Wadi el-Fara. After reaching the Adam Jct, Hwy 90 was followed north with stops at a pump station, Wadi/Nahal Firan Memorial, Wadi Qaud Ida, Northwest of Beit She’an-Bardala Checkpoint and then Beit Shean returned via Samaria.


(Annual rain so far this year is 85% of the average based on measurements at Havat Eden)

Traveling northeast from Jerusalem along Highway 60 through Samaria to Mekhora and then to Hwy 90 – small amounts of headed barley are seen occasionally. The headed barley mainly had an erect stance indicating it was recently headed and not past the flowering stage. At Mekhora various barley forms were seen (Hordeum spontaneumHordeum vulgare – two and six row) as well as modern wheat.  Barley development was mixed from flowering to aviv (very few examples) stages within one single patch that was checked. The wheat was less advanced than the barley in general and found in the flowering stage of development.

Pump house east of Highway 90 (km343) – Cattle and one flock of sheep were observed grazing along the route. The sizeable patch of barley that has previously been checked at the pump house was almost completely absent, there were large patches of dead plant material and mostly wild rocket lettuce growing where anything was growing. It appears that it may have been poisoned for weed control. The barley that remained looked sick and unreliable as an indicator. 

Wadi/Nahal Firan (Memorial East of Hwy 90) – Large area with wild barley, almost all of barley observed was in the boot or rarely beginning to head. Almost all of the barley was much shorter than would normally be seen in other locations in Israel at this time of year regardless of the stage of development.

Wadi Qaud Ida (Nahal Talkid) west of highway 90 – Large area with wild barley but less dense than on the east side of Highway 90, the vast majority of all of the barley observed was in the boot or rarely beginning to head and short as observed on the eastern side of Highway 90 at the Wadi/Nahal Firan memorial site. Many cattle were observed grazing in the area. It is possible that the short height and stage of barley growth are related to intensive cattle grazing. 

Northwest of Beit She’an-Bardala Checkpoint – Checked concentrated patches of wild barley between highway 90 and the edge of a very large agricultural field. The agricultural field primarily contained modern wheat but was also mixed with smaller amounts of a wide variety of other plants including wild barley. There are also large wild and abandoned fields with a high percentage of wild barley to the south of the agricultural field. Both the wild barley mixed within the agricultural field as well as the concentrations of barley between the fields and the highway had mixed development from “in the boot” to aviv (very few examples) stages within all areas that were checked regardless of whether they were mixed in the agricultural field or outside of the agricultural fields.  In comparison to the barley observed by Wadi/Nahal Firan and Wadi Qaud Ida the barley was taller (what would normally be expected) and on average more advanced, being mainly in the flowering through soft dough stages. The headed barley observed mixed in the wheat, mainly had an erect stance indicating it was recently headed and not past the flowering stage. It is not certain if this difference in development is due to the possibility of better-growing conditions and influences from modern agriculture or if reflects the intensive grazing observed to the south. The modern wheat in the agricultural fields was in a less advanced stage on average than the wild barley and was consistently in the flowering stage of development.


Considerable amounts of aviv barley was found in the northern Negev. The barley development in the Jordan Valley lags behind the northern Negev. Generally speaking, barley development in all of the areas observed in Israel seems relatively typical, and in our opinion, this should be considered the beginning of the month of aviv with the determination of the new moon.


Jim Hebert

April 15, 2023 at 9:42 pm

Enjoyed the article. I wonder what happens to the barley if it ripens one or two weeks before the Feast of First-fruits. Do they just let it rot in the field? That doesn’t sound logical but the Bible says in Lev 23 ‘When you enter the land I am going to give you and you reap its harvest, bring to the priest a sheaf of the first grain you harvest. He is to wave the sheaf before the Lord so it will be accepted on your behalf; the priest is to wave it on the day after the Sabbath……..I was thinking if it is possible that they can harvest and not eat any of the barley at any time before the scheduled date of the sheaf offering. Verse 14 says they are not “to eat” any of it until after the waving of the sheaf. Thank you.

    Yoel Halevi

    April 19, 2023 at 10:40 am

    There is no prohibition on harvesting before the waving. The prohibition was to eat the new grain.

Leave a Reply

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

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Join My Group Bible Class TODAY!

The class is done in a virtual class room with multiple participants. We meet on Sundays at 11:45am US eastern, or 6:45pm Israel time. You do not need to know Hebrew for this class, and you also receive a recording of the classes every month. For the link and how to join, click the More Info Button to email us.