grain stove...

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by evisr8, Aug 28, 2005.

  1. evisr8

    evisr8 Member

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    a bit ago, we bought 40 acres of land. this year there was approx 25 acres of wheat that was harvested at around 45 bushels per acre (excellent year in Montana). in two years, we plan on getting the homestead up and going. i am trying to convince my wife that we need a grain stove instead of a wood stove to augment the soaring prices in home heating. a web site from canada mentioned it would take 200 bushels of wheat to heat a home (1 bushel per day). does anyone have any experience with grain burning stoves? since i want to be somewhat self sufficient, is it possible to plant and harvest 10 acres of wheat (20 bushel per acre on a lean year) with rudimentary tools: old tractor and some implements?
     
  2. Nan

    Nan Well-Known Member

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    I am not sure if it is the same thing, but we had a corn stove. It had this little auger that put a few kernels to burn at a time. It was VERY warm, but it relied on electricity to keep burning. It had to have a blower motor to keep the corn going and to disperse the heat. A GOOD thing about it was that it didn't have to have a conventional stove pipe. It just had one going out the back and out the wall to the outside of the house. That is why we got it. It was for our upstairs where there wasn't a pipe previously. We had a woodburning one downstairs that warmed the largest portion of the house so we had heat even if we had no electricity. I would have both just in case of power outtages. A good sized corn stove will heat an area of 2000 sq ft or more. We had it upstairs for an area of 44 by 16. It used about a 50 pound bag of corn every 2 or 3 days when it was below freezing. We never had to turn it up from low. Kept it very comfortable at about 70 degrees. Ours had a thermostat. Downstairs (which in our weird shaped house wasn't under the upstairs....our upstairs was over a huge basement and down the hall from our downstairs....kinda think s shaped??)Downstairs....was heated by a large Harmon wood stove. I loved that thing! We have moved and I really miss the wood heat! We are getting ready to build and we are going to have both again! When the corn burns it smells kinda like popcorn. It has a pleasant smell. I heard that you could use other dry grains in it.
     

  3. Nan

    Nan Well-Known Member

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    I just reread your post...DUH..I didn't even answer your question did I? Sorry.....I am not sure about harvesting your own wheat. I would think it would be cheaper to do it on the halves or hire it done than to buy the equipment to do your own....but it wouldn't be impossible if you had a makeshift threshing floor of some sort...maybe a large tarp in a clean barn? I know someone else will actually answer your question for you and not just gab.....I'm home sick today and bored stiff! :eek:
     
  4. Sher

    Sher Well-Known Member

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    I cannot comment on the wheat..as we burn corn. I love it and its cheap and gettin cheaper all the time as the gas prices rise.

    I do not think that raising your own would be prudent UNLESS you already have the means to harvest it. Heck, the corn we are buying is a hair over $2.00. And that is cleaned.

    I live in Iowa, so maybe you cannot get it at a decent price. For us, it takes about a hundred bushels to heat our house..about 1200 ft. Our basement is not heated..but stays at 50 to 60 degrees regardless.
     
  5. Blu3duk

    Blu3duk Well-Known Member

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    If a person shops around they can find an old combine someone has that still runs but is to small for "modern" corporate farming and has not seen a combine demolition derby like held at the Lewis county fair every fall in Nez perce Idaho, anyhow an old model 55 John deere can usually be had for between $500 and $2000.00 in pretty good condition, and parts machines are not hard to find as most same year models the parts will interchange [careful of getting machines made to far distant in years] most will have only a 12 - 16 foot header with 14's having been the most common in these parts [central and north idaho] some have what is known as pea bars, which allow harvesting of peas. for 10-25 acres you can be pretty sure you can get what you need done with one of those or other makes and models [some areas will have more International harvestor, or JI case or gleaner available but similar in price structure] Another option is to find an old pull type combine and use your tractor, Allis-Challmers made apassle of them over the years, as did JD, and International, however the A-C was the most popular as it had a 5 foot header [on the smallest machine] andthe tin ware allowed seeds to be harvested [like clover or alfalfa] without losing as much as the bigger machines did..... hard to find them in condition that does not require them to be overhauled completely anymore, not many were ever stored under sheds.
    For dumping the grain from the combine you have two options, if the grain bin is close to the field, you can drive the combine over each time and dump it directly into your bin, if not you will need a truck or trailer [can be pulled by tractor] and a grain auger to empty the grain into the bin..... several types of having been built over the years and some just laying around for small holders to put back into use....

    For tillage, a small tractor, complimented with plow, disc, harrow and seeder/fertilizer will get your seed sown, a 12 foot seeder will let you do about an acre an hour on really good going [yes some folks can squeeze out a bit more] if you raise livestock and have a pile of manure, you may also want to find a manure spreader to round out your equipment list.... and maybe a sprayer as well [compost soaked in drums then sprayed onto the field via the sprayer is stil organic farming practices just uses a different applicator for the "tea"]

    Running a combine for the first time is a trip, with a header on going down a very steep hill you have almost no steering except by front individual brakes, and as you are setting up high you have different view of the ground.... watching the header spin can make a person dizzy.... but it dont take long to get used to running one.....

    My dads cousin had one of the first model 55's in the eastern washington Palouse country in the 1940's he made $400 per day just opening up fields for the old large pull types to run in so they didnt mash the wheat down.... dads uncles had one of the first hillsides converted in the same area all cable adjusted as opposed to the hydraulics of today..... and its still only $4.00 per bushel after nearly 70 years.... no wonder farmers are going busted.

    Anyow small scale grain harvesting can be done, cost effective if everything is used on the farm, however the price of fuel is going up, the price of chemical fertilzer is rising, and to balance everything out and try organic farming may take awhile for the ground to appreciate the change [some figure 5 years, others do it in shorter timeframes by growing a "green Manure Crop"]

    Any clarifications needed ask and i shall try to expand on any aspect.

    William
     
  6. evisr8

    evisr8 Member

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    thanks for all the info.

    i was planning on planting a "green manure crop" to boast the fertility of the soil. which would be the "best" to use for wheat crops as far as cost effectiveness and compatibility? what would it cost per acre for the appropriate seed? i only plan on raising a feeder cow, maybe a milking cow and rabbits. will i have enough manure to fertilize the crop or should i use green manure crops and augment it with animal manure/tea?
     
  7. Blu3duk

    Blu3duk Well-Known Member

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    thec green manure crop could vary depending upon what you want to do and how many dollars you want to spend..... white beans [sown a bushel to a bushel and a half per acre] are good they produce a fixed nitrogen pod and the greens when tilled under break down nicely....

    clover will also make a good green manure, however will take a couple years to establish a good crop to till under... then its a shame to till it under cause it makes a nice hay crop.

    dads cousin planted sweet mustard [a weed] one year and used it as a green manure crop... but he tilled it under before it went to seed.... probably wouldnt work now... to much government red tape to get weed seed now days.

    the trick is getting a seed that grows fast and is cheap enough to use as green manure.. cause it will cost you to run over the ground just to do so, but it is worth doing.... even half this year and half next year sort of thing....

    if you want a winter cover crop, perhaps austrian winter peas would do for a green manure crop.. depends on also what your growing season is.

    William
     
  8. RLMS

    RLMS Well-Known Member

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    One year out of three on rotation we plant buckwheat. It is a good nitrogen fixer and the seed is very cheap.
     
  9. Blu3duk

    Blu3duk Well-Known Member

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    another benefit of buckwheat if you let it bloom, is your bees will produce about triple the honey from it, the pheasants will multiply, as will any other gamebird that can get under it to pick the seed....

    drawback is you need a frost to have the green seed turn so it can be harvested, as here in central idaho it grows more seed as the year progresses... so unless it actaully turned under at some point it is not a good harvest crop.... cept for the honey.... but like i posted above there are several crops that work well in different areas.... and monatana is diverse.

    William
     
  10. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    A green manure crop either requires good fall rainfall, or a missed year of production. You may not have enough rainfall if your main crop is wheat.

    Green manure supplies nitrogen. You will still need to supply P & K & make sure your PH is in balance (lime). Animal manure typically hurts PH.

    So, green manure crops are good, but can't do the whole job.

    Manure, 100 dairy cattle will fertilize 200 acres, likely your couple of cattle will not produce that level of manure.

    It is possible to grow & raise a wheat crop quite cheaply, but harvesting it is _the_ problem. Combines cost a lot to maintain, even the cheap pull types. A broken belt will set you back $150, broken parts are massive $$$$. It is very hard to do your own harvesting on very small acres.

    Corn stoves are popular here, they require clean grain & electricity to operate, can work well for you. If trees grow on your property a wood stove may be more practical & less work & less dependant on electricity, and you can rent out your farm land & make a few bucks for the chain saw that way.

    --->Paul
     
  11. cc-rider

    cc-rider Baroness of TisaWee Farm Supporter

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    Is "clean" corn the same as what I would buy by the bushel at a grainery? Does that just mean free from chaff, etc?

    I think I like the idea of a corn stove, no matter what others say. Especially if I can heat a 1200' home all winter for $200 like Sher said!

    And if it smells like popcorn, instead of parched corn, so much the better!

    I know, it doesn't have the ambience of a wood fire (nor the smell and smoke and soot), and it costs a lot more to buy initially..... and you need electricity, but it seems reasonable to me.
     
  12. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I have no personal experience with a corn stove. From what I have gathered in listening to those who own them, the cleaner the corn (less chaff) the better, by far. Also drier grain works better, no luck in trying to use 16-18% moisture 'wet' corn from the field. 14% works better than 15% is what I hear....

    Some older stove designs produced a 'clinker' that required cooling the stove & removing once every day or 3. Newer styles & the use of, um, oyster shells I think - in the fire reduce this issue.

    Many newer stoves can use either corn or wood pellets, and a mixture or rotation of the 2 often works well - good bang for the buck & maitenence. Wood is ashy, corn is oily, the combo relieves both issues a bit.

    Again, this is what I hear only, no real first hand experience.

    --->Paul
     
  13. Explorer

    Explorer Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I know this is an older thread, but maybe someone is still interested. This article is actually about GRAIN stoves.

    Grain gaining steam as home-heating option

    Last Updated Fri, 14 Oct 2005 17:10:15 EDT

    CBC News

    With fuel prices on the rise, some Canadians are turning to grain as a cheap, environmentally friendly way to heat their homes.

    Grain-fuelled stoves, which cost upwards of $2,500 to buy and install look like a regular wood-burning unit but they burn corn, wheat, rye, wood pellets, or other organic materials such as cherry or olive pits.

    Saskatchewan farmer Franck Groeneweg says the savings have been significant by using grain from his fields to heat his home.

    "We have dropped our fuel costs by four or five times at least," said Groeneweg. "We will heat our house for about $900 this year."

    Grain Stoves Inc., an Ontario company, says the spike in oil prices has driven business through the roof.

    "We're really, really busy," said Charles Gulutzen, whose family owns the company. While most customers are farmers with easy access to corn crops, he says word is spreading across the country.

    The stoves burn the grain pellet's starch, emitting mostly carbon dioxide. The only waste product is a lava rock-like substance that is mostly potash, which can be used as fertilizer.

    Gulutzen says right now, the stoves make more sense in rural areas where it's easier for people to get their hands on grain supplies. However, he envisions a day when people have grains delivered to their homes instead of oil or propane.

    "There's endless opportunity sitting there," he says.

    While sales of grain-fuelled stoves are growing, the head of energy conservation in Saskatchewan says people should first focus on energy efficiency in their homes.

    "The simple things are sealing, caulking and weather stripping and turning down your thermostat at night and when you're not at home," said Grant McVicar


    www.cbc.ca/story/science/...51014.html
     
  14. sajara

    sajara New Member

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    I am in the market for a corn stove. Is yours just a free-standing version as opposed to one that actually hooks into an existing duct system? I am trying to figure out whether a free-standing unit will heat my 1200 sq ft home, upstairs and downstairs, without it being unbearably hot in the room the stove is in (most likely the living room).

    Also, anyone with any recommendations as to specific units, feel free to chime in! I really don't know how to go about choosing one. Thanks!