how crazy am I? wheat/oats/grains

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by UpstateNY, Oct 6, 2004.

  1. UpstateNY

    UpstateNY Active Member

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    I have a couple acres. (5 total, but some is in use with house, pole barn, garden, pond etc.) I am going to fence the rest in for pasture, but I have one little section maybe a 1/4 acre that I am not sure about. I would have to run the fence with a couple corners to catch it. I was reading a homesteading book and they were talking about growing grains, wheat, oats in a small section. I do not have a tractor. I have a roto tiller a couple of old hand scyths (left overs from auctions hanging in the barn) and a fair to middlin' back. I know I could till the area, plant the area and cut it. but then what? will I get more then a quart jar of grain? I have never grown wheat/oats/barley etc. So am I just crazy or might this be worth the effort?
     
  2. westbrook

    westbrook In Remembrance

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    grow alfalfa or some other grass, graze livestock on it..much more profitable. Divide your pastures so you can rotate the livestock. Just a thought.
     

  3. Freeholder

    Freeholder Well-Known Member

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    Find what yields per acre of each grain you can expect in your area (for instance, you might expect 40 bushels of wheat -- just using this for a starting point, it might be a lot more or a lot less). Then divide by four. So, IF 40 bu./acre was reasonable in your area, your quarter acre might yield 10 bu. That's quite a bit of grain.

    Kathleen in Oregon
     
  4. caballoviejo

    caballoviejo Well-Known Member

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    Growing wheat is exceedingly easy. You may not even have to till the ground. Just throw it around in the spring (spring wheat) or in the fall (winter wheat). I've had wheat grow and ripen in my pick up bed.


    But for me, harvesting the quarter acre by hand would seem a hassle.
     
  5. uncle Will in In.

    uncle Will in In. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    A hassle harvesting small grain is an understatement. Are you where they can grow sweet corn. A quarter acre of sweet corn can give you up to 3600 ears of corn. If you can figure out how to market it by the dozen, it could make you some serious change. You would need to stagger the planting dates to extend the harvest season. Just plain old field corn will make more bushels per acre than any small grain, and you can harvest it standing up, plus livestock will eat much of the fodder. If you aren't too far north????
     
  6. Gercarson

    Gercarson Well-Known Member Supporter

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    This must be every homesteader's dream - to grow your own wheat, grind it yourself and make your own bread. Or, grow your own oats and process them. Even if you only do it one time I believe you will be extremely satisfied with the attempt (assuming you get at least 8 bushels) - plus, you have a pasture (!!) - beef, pork, chickens. You have the health, and the ideals for making a 5 acre plot into a dream come true. Do you have a garden or fruit trees too - or room to squeeze them in?
     
  7. sancraft

    sancraft Well-Known Member

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    If you can get a copy of :The Self-Sufficient Life and How to Live It", by John Seymour, he gives your outlines on setting up a small homestead to maximize production. I found a lot of his info. very useful and intend to use it on my next homestead.
     
  8. Jack in VA

    Jack in VA Well-Known Member

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    Were these grains for kitchen use or livestock? I'd first see what 50 lb. bags of same would cost.May be worth it if youre doing it for the fun of it , ya know , getting the family out there separating the chaff by bouncing it off a blanket in the wind , etc.
     
  9. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Like the others said if its an experience you want and think you'll enjoy then by all means do it. Making some mistakes and very conservatively speaking you're looking at 750 pounds of oats or barley maybe a 900 of wheat, you could easily do better. Personally I wouldn't want to do that kind of work but it used to be all done by hand. 1/4 acre isn't much but you'd want to pace yourself to not hurt your back with work your not familiar with. I'd look for a higher value crop.
     
  10. breezynosacek

    breezynosacek Well-Known Member

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    well, they now have hullless oats, so that would give you oats plus some oat straw. Feed for you and bedding for critters.

    Personally, I would grow an eighth of an acre of wheat, a 16th of an acre of oats, a 16th of an acre of rye.

    You would have all of your breads covered, you would have breakfast and meatloaf covered, you would have a stash in case of an emergency and all the grasses are great for composting if you don't use it for your animals.

    Just my opinion. This post has inspired me. I think I will give it a try. Oops, I got to scrounge some sales and see if I can come up with a scythe.
     
  11. UpstateNY

    UpstateNY Active Member

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    Thanks for all the imput and advice. As I said I know nothing about growing grains other than corn. I have no idea how much grain such a small area would produce. I assumed a very small amount and not worth it till I read that homesteading book and it showed a 5 acre homestead with little wheat and grain sections. I have no ambision to try to produce enough for livestock feed. I see how much they can eat lol. I was thinking more along the lines of flour for family use and the stalks to some bedding/feed, but not to replace what I need to buy. The other thought was (here it comes, lol) beer. I used to brew my own, but have not done any yet this year. Spending money on malt, etc. just for beer has been a out of the budget this year. (Though I am planning on sneaking into the piggy bank to make a batch of pumpkin ale or some cider). If I could grow enough grain to either make a bunch of bread (flour in bulk or sale is pretty cheap really) or enough to make beer (hence my labor not money, so my dear wife does not mind) it might be worth it. A 1/4 acre is pretty small and the labor would not be that great assuming it would yield enough to do something with. I liked the 1/8, 1/16, 1/16 idea!! I was shocked by the hundreds of pounds from a 1/4 that would be more then enough to make it worth my time. The more I think about it the less crazier I feel. I still know nothing about seperating the grain but... I have some time until I need to worry about that. (I still have all winter to think about planting lol) Thank you very much. I will also have to find some hops before spring. I must admit that the thought of a homegrown home brewed 100% organic, self grown, self malted, self brewed beer is appealing, even if it tastes like crap to everyone else I would like it lol. Thank you again.
     
  12. UpstateNY

    UpstateNY Active Member

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    I forgot to answer about garden and fruit trees. We have a fairly good size garden. We have terrible clay soil so now nearly 10 years later we are getting some good dirt. (Since we have gotten animals we seem to be able to finally increase the quality of the soil much faster!!) I planted a couple apple trees a few years ago and lost all to deer. Just lasy year we bought 2 calves, 3 pigs and 2 sheep. Just starting to really get into the swing of things and still have a long way to go. Fences!!! uggg lol
     
  13. Jack in VA

    Jack in VA Well-Known Member

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    OK , now yer talkin' !! A Beer Garden!!

    That would make it an acheivable project with rewards.
    Make sure ya get the hops growing.
    Maybe a small rice patty , if ya like that in yer beer.
    The ultimate , Homebrew!!
    Go for it!!

    Ya got me thinkin'...........jack
     
  14. breezynosacek

    breezynosacek Well-Known Member

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    LOL, don't ya mean Beer Garten! But oh my goodness yes, if you can't grow grapes to make wine, grow hops!

    I'm going to grow some hops until I get some grapes going, but I can't say I've ever eaten bread from hops yeast.

    It will be interestink, verrry interestink!
     
  15. breezynosacek

    breezynosacek Well-Known Member

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  16. minnikin1

    minnikin1 Shepherd

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    We've been seeing several fields of grain locally (in Upstate NY) but were not sure which grain it is. Whatever it was, it seemed to grow beautifully.
    And Hops grows great in this area.

    Terri mentioned the term "hogging off' in another thread as one method of dealing with grain. (Just turn the hogs loose in the field once the grain is ripe. Let them harvest their own feed.)

    We've been getting hooked on wheat beer. (We're drinking Blue Moon). It's so expensive, though, the thought of growing our own has crossed my mind.

    AND have you priced a bale of straw lately! $4.00, if you can find it!!

    I wanted to try thatched roofing for some of our animal shelters - but not at that price...
     
  17. breezynosacek

    breezynosacek Well-Known Member

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    Yep, $4 a bale down here too. I'm not sure why the price is up but at least we got good hay. Probably a rational since the gas prices are so high right now. I can't blame them, they got to make a living too.
     
  18. Freeholder

    Freeholder Well-Known Member

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    Straw prices have been going up for years. People use it for bedding for their animals, and if grains aren't grown much in your area (as in most of New England) straw has to be shipped in, making it more expensive. Maybe the growers also feel they can cash in on the strawbale home market. But people wanting to build homes will go elsewhere if the price of strawbales makes the home more expensive than some other material.

    Straw for thatching needs to be straight. After it's baled it won't work, because it's been crushed, crumpled, and broken by the baler. So, if you want to thatch a roof, you really need to grow your own straw -- another good reason for a small grain patch.

    Kathleen
     
  19. boolandk

    boolandk Well-Known Member

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    I agree with Uncle Will. Grow sweet corn. You can sell some, feed your family with fresh corn and freeze a bunch for the winter. Buy yourself a couple feeder pigs and give them the corn stalks and reject ears.