What Grain Feed would you grow manually?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by moonwolf, Feb 8, 2005.

  1. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

    Sep 19, 2004
    A few acres and animals including poultry and maybe pigs.

    What grain crop, root crop, or hay is the best that you would try to grow and manage so that it doesn't involve big machinery planting and harvesting?
    upper midwest climate

    sunflowers? buckwheat? rye? oats? alfalfa? turnip?...other

    give some methods you would use for harvesting and storing.
  2. John_in_Houston

    John_in_Houston Well-Known Member

    Nov 26, 2003

  3. chickenhawk

    chickenhawk New Member

    May 28, 2004
    I'm thinking squash and pumpkins.
  4. sylvar

    sylvar Well-Known Member

    Nov 1, 2004

    I was thinking about planting squash and pumpkins for mine....then I found out I can get all I want from the U-pick places right after halloween. I can get them by the truckload for free.

  5. Blu3duk

    Blu3duk Well-Known Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    central idaho republic
    you dont really need big machines for harvesting grains, some older combines still work and a preson can get parts for easy enough.... like a model 55 JD combine will sell for about $500.00 and is serviceable on a small scale operation... even a couple acres.... a small drill sitting out behind someones barn like a 12 foot or 10 foot will get a person by seeding up quite a few acres..... Ive set on a tractor that was pulling a 12 footer and seeded 40 acres when i was a kid..... took awhile not like the big monster no till seeder that i set on a few years ago that seeded 13 acres an hour [20 foot at a time] and could go 40 acres before refilling, so we seeded 240 acres a day with 2 shifts.. had it all done in 4 weeks.... yeah big acreage.

    Anyhow, depending on what you were wanting, austrian winter peas can be seeded a bushel per acre [seed about $17.00 per 100] and will yield 70-100 bushels around these parts [central idaho] and at $5.00 return makes a profitable side crop for some farmers.... peas need to be ground or rolled for chickens to use them best, i feed pea screenings to my layers in my mix with wheat and corn....

    To harvest peas a person has to have a pea bar on the combine....

    Oats would be another crop to plant..... it can be cut for hay when green, with the grain in the dough stage for silage, or for a hay as well, and can be left to harvestas grain.... which wouldnt have to have any additional pieces to your old combine.....

    The old machines may be slow, may have small headers [12-14 feet] but they get the job done and did for many years before the huge monsters that cost upwards of $250,000.00 that break down just as often as the old machines do... they just cut ahead and seed behind in some places.

    Storage can be a problem for small holders, but if all else fails then just pile it up on the ground in one spot and tarp it good, the amount wasted will be enough that you probably wont do it again, but then again as animal feed it wont get wasted very long.... chickens are nasty about eating anything they figure will make them grow..... and spoiled grain isnt bad for them.....

    A shed built with 4 foot side and 16 feet square will hold several hundred bushels of grain and can be built with 2x6 on side [laying flat] as the grain fills up it uses itself to raise above the cracks and so you less les lumber in building the stroage strong enough from lumber to make it worth building at all. It will pencil out easy.

    A tractor and drill can be rented from a nieghbor so a person could try it onnce or twice before investing in additional machines, but i would look for and purchase an old combine and drive it home [or have it hauled there if to far away] They are easy to work on.... just have the motor way up in the air so a person needs to not be afraid of being 8 feet off the ground while turning a wrench.

  6. superduperchickenman

    superduperchickenman Well-Known Member

    May 14, 2003
    store um in the ground.

  7. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

    May 22, 2003
    Zone 7
    buy chicken feed and plant rutabagas for the other animals. Low investment and a high yielder that can be stored for winter feed as well as grazed. Minimal weed problem.

    depending on how warm your summers are you could plant milo for the chickens and use the stalks for grazing by the other animals. Lot of people are unaware that a hog will graze and is not dependant on grain type feeds.
  8. Tango

    Tango Well-Known Member

    Aug 19, 2002
    I was given a 50 pound bag of oats by mistake two years ago. I tossed them out without planting them, watered regularly and they sprouted beautifully. The chickens loved it.
  9. spring77

    spring77 Well-Known Member

    Feb 6, 2004
    The indians grew a heck of a lot of corn in the old days and they did it all by hand. And I'm sure you'll have better tools than a hoe made out of a shoulder blade.
    If you cut the stalks you can feed them too. What they don't eat is bedding.
  10. .netDude

    .netDude Well-Known Member

    Nov 25, 2004
    Western NY
    Not on my farm yet, but have been doing tons of research and reading, this is one of my top recommended books on your subject (among other subjects) for the small, 'cottage', farmer:
    The Contrary Farmer - Gene Logsdon
    (search amazon for the title)
  11. 3girls

    3girls Well-Known Member

    Aug 18, 2004
    SE PA, zone 6b

    There is also a ton of info in All Flesh is Grass, same author. Any of his books will have useful info, even some of his earliest. I like most of the ones from CF on up to today best.
  12. jwulf

    jwulf Member

    Aug 30, 2004

    And he also has a book titled "Small Scale Grain Raising" which is an exhaustive review of most of the grains for home and animal use (corns, wheats, sorghum, oats, soybean, rye and barley, buckwehat and millet, rice, and some unusual ones as well).

    Fantastic book. Might be out of print but you can find used ones on Amazon.com...that's where I got mine.

    I did some OP dent corn last year, bought a scythe this winter, and will probably try some grain this spring.

  13. fin29

    fin29 Well-Known Member

    Jun 4, 2003
  14. Lrose

    Lrose Well-Known Member

    Dec 17, 2004
    We live in Nova Scotia with similar growing season as yours but not exacly the same. Our farm is ten acres. Five is fenced pasture . Right now we have two horses, one is a work horse; the other is boarding here for the winter. We are only keeping two goats for milking now. This number goes up when the kids are born. We used to sell milk and keep as many as 16 goats. We also had sheep and three horses on this same land. We grow organic vegetables and include mangels{cattle beets} for the animals. They are stored in a heap in one corner of our rock wall basement. We also have hens and they love cabbage and turnips. Turnips are stored in wooden bins in the basement. Cabbage is harvested with long stalks and hung from basement rafters tied with baling twine. This house is very old and has no furnace so root crops keep well. We grow wheat but plant it in rows in the garden. In rows it seems to withstand our harsh winds better. We cut the wheat with a sharp knife ; machette style; and put it on a plastic canvas and roll a stone roller over it to loosen the wheat kernals . All the chaff is saved in feed bags. threshing wheat by hand wasn't very through but nothing went to waste. The stalks and chaff were fed to the goats and chickens. later my husband rigged up a hand cranked clothes wringer with a bowl underneath to catch the wheat. He attached a long tube. added was a small fan at the top of the tube. He fed the wheat stalks through the wringer. the fan blew the chaff down the tube and the wheat kernels fell into the bowl. It worked though a primitive invention held together with duct tape!!! Our goats and chickens loved the wheat and we also used a handturned wheat grinder to make flour to bake with. The hens eat a half turnip everyday and half cabbage. The goats and horses also eat from the garden all corn stalks, veg trimmings etc. We grow our own timothy hay as it takes less drying time than clover or alfalfa. Our summers are foggy and cool at times and it hard to get consectative warm days with north winds to dry clover or alfalfa . Before we had a horse mower my husband cut the standing hay with a scythe only cutting as much at any given time as he could take care of.He forks it out and spreads it out to dry with a hay fork and turns it with a fork atleast three times a day. If the weather changes for the worse he rakes the hay by hand and makes haystacks that shed rain. When the sun is back he spreads it out again and turns it until it finishes drying. He rakes it into rows and piles it on the horse cart and it is stored loose in the mow of the barn. He has an old fashioned pitcher fork on a rope and pully to pull the hay up nto the mow loose. We did have a horse tether to shake and turn hay but it was in bad shape when we got it and couldn't be repaired. So far we have grown about all our feed for whatever animals we raise. Only occasionally buying scratch feed or goat ration. You can raise corn for pigs and hens and goats and even horses. Our horses also eat potatoes all winter. Potatoes are all sorted when taken from the ground. The best ones go in wooden boxes and barrels in the basement. they are sorted according to variety. Second best goes in wooden bins to use first. Small ones or scared ones go in separate wooden bins to feed to the horse. Varieties that winter well like Red Potatoes we eat last. Yukon Golds that don't keep well we use first. And so it goes. It is possible to work a small farm like ours with hand implements or horse power as we have done it .It is alot of work though and not for the faint of heart. A little techology can make it all easier if you can afford it. We couldn't so we did it the old fashioned way. No regrets but we are both almost 60 now and grow less, keep less animals and take life a little slower. Still enjoy farming but have kearned to work smarter instead of harded. Have a nice day Linda
  15. boxwoods

    boxwoods Well-Known Member

    Oct 6, 2003
    Central New York
    I'd say corn. grow it, husk it, dry it, shell it . all by hand
    A little work but can be done a little at a time