wheat seeds

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by jdskidder, Feb 14, 2005.

  1. jdskidder

    jdskidder Well-Known Member

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    Hello all,

    We have a few acres and are looking for some organic wheat seeds. We dont' need a lot, as we don't have a big enough flat area for a large field of it.

    Anyone know where I can get some?

    Thanks, Dorian
     
  2. Windy in Kansas

    Windy in Kansas In Remembrance

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    Maybe you can get some at the health food store near you, however you will be paying through the nose for it as the saying goes.

    I priced wheat for flour at a bulk food store last Thursday. It was 32¢ per pound, making it $19.20 per bushel. That is a crying shame when the farmers get less than $3 per bushel.

    The last I checked cleaned untreated seed wheat was around $7 per 50 pounds, making it $8.40 per bushel.

    I can't begin to imagine what organic wheat from a health food store would cost per bushel. No doubt a YIKES!

    I'm not trying to be a smart Alec here, but can someone please explain to me what the laboratory difference would be between wheat seed grown organically from organic origin seed, versus wheat seed grown organically using seed obtained from conventional farming techniques, i.e. grown with chemical fertilizers.

    I just can't see that the crop two seed would still show chemical fertilizer uptake by seed crop one.

    I know that there would be peace of mind as a result of using organic seed, but is there really any other difference--laboratory wise? Again, I'm not trying to be a smart Alec, I would really like to know.
     

  3. Bruce in NE

    Bruce in NE Well-Known Member

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    Smart Alec, Smart Alec!!

    Just kidding. In fact, that's a question I've thought about.

    I'm no plant-ologist, just into organics. But I think you would be hard pressed to find any chemical residues in a wheat crop that was grown in organic soils, even tho grown from commercial seed. Far more important, I feel, is whether the SOIL has or has not been contaminated with chemical fertilizers or pesticides in the past. If you plant organic seeds in a worn out corn field, you'll probably get a crop with chemical residues in it. But if you plant unorganically grown seed in good soil, I believe you'll get a relatively pure crop. At any rate, the flour from that wheat will be 100% better than what you get at a store. And if you save seed to plant the following year, for all intents and purposes, it will probably be "organic" enough for you.

    So I'd say go ahead and plant "regular" wheat seed if you can't find/afford the organic version. Save back some of this year's crop and you'll have your own source for the following year.

    But of course maybe I'm just being a Smart Alec too.
     
  4. shorty'smom

    shorty'smom Well-Known Member

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    Try looking for local wheat farmers who keep a portion of their crop for seed and store it on farm in their own granaries. Chances are that the seed will be treated for pests while in storeage, because if it's not treated bugs will get into it and eat it all. There won't be an effect on the next crop if the last crop was fertilized with chemicals, or sprayed for green bugs. Wheat doesn't always get sprayed for pests. We spray only if we have enough pests to cause economic loss. We soil test and fertilize according to how many bushels per acre that we plan to raise. Try to find a smut and rust resistant variety and plan to store it in well ventilated bins that are as rodent and bug proof as you can make them. You want that grain to stay cool and dry. When you purchase your wheat you can try to get a sample of the seed you plan to purchase and do a germination test. count out 100 seeds and wrap them in damp paper toweling for a week to 10 days. At the end of the week count how many of the seeds germinated. The number which did germinate (percentage) is the rate at which you can figure that the rest will germinate. You'll hopefully be above 95%. If it's lower, you can increase your seeding rate. Or you can keep shopping for better seed. seed wheat always costs more then what you sell wheat for at harvest time. Supply and demand. Everybody wants to buy some at planting time and everybody wants to seel some at harvest time. You should be able to get some for under 8 dollars a bushel, baring unforseen circumstances.

    Plan to increase your seeding rate if you graze animals on it over the winter. The grazing will hurt the yeild. You'll want to get it planted as early in the fall as you can if you want to graze it, but after soil temperatures stay below 90 degrees. Wheat won't germinate above that temp. It will just rot. You need to remove the animals when the wheat is begining to grow the heads. (when it is in the boot) If you aren't going to graze it you can plant it a little later and it will still ripen at about the same time as any other wheat field in your area and yeild better than if it were grazed. However, I would also increase the seeding rate if I knew I wasn't going to use anything to control green bugs or army worms if they come along. Organic fertilizers should do as good a job as chemical ones, in my opinion.

    If the farmer kept his wheat for seed he probably kept his best, cleanest wheat. Still, the wheat has to be taken to the elevator and cleaned many times. The wheat is often treated with a fungicide when it is cleaned to help keep it from rotting in the ground before it emerges. Fungicides are bad news if you like organic. I know, we hand treat every sac of soybeans we load into our drill. They have so many awful warnings on the label, it's enough to make your head spin. You can try to get some cleaned seed, but watch out for fungicide. Or you can get it before it is cleaned and just deal with the cheat and weeds that come up in your organic way.
     
  5. jdskidder

    jdskidder Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for the information everyone.

    Dorian
     
  6. Windy in Kansas

    Windy in Kansas In Remembrance

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    What, no comments on my organic question? I certainly don't want to spark a heated debate, but I do enjoy reading others thoughts on the subject.

    I have been thinking about asking Rodale Institute to comment on this thread about organic vs. non-organic, and the uptake of chemicals by plants.

    Good luck with finding organic seed and having a successful crop. I certainly don't want to discourage anyone from doing what is right for them.
     
  7. shorty'smom

    shorty'smom Well-Known Member

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    I don't know much about growing wheat organically, sorry. Go for it. Everything's worth a try. Less chemicals is better IMHO. However, we are wheat farmers in Oklahoma. We can't afford to loose yeild for any reason. We operate on too slim a profit margin (if there is one) to risk it. It's a crying shame, but a fact of life for us.
     
  8. southerngurl

    southerngurl le person Supporter

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    Alot of people prefer organic seed because 1, they feel it will have better genetics, as it survived without the "bandaid" of chemicals. 2, the environment was not damaged as much in its production.
     
  9. SAHM

    SAHM Member

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    I am looking for wheat seed to grow my own. I buy organic wheat at my local health food store every week that I grind into flour to make bread. I can use this same wheat to plant?
    Sorry if this is a dumb question....
    I am actually only looking for a small lot for wheatgrass to drink.
    Right now I just dont have too much room,,,, someday... (sigh)
     
  10. Windy in Kansas

    Windy in Kansas In Remembrance

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    I can use this same wheat to plant?

    Yes, it should be ideal.

    When farmers harvest grain they put one or more truckloads into a grain bin to use the following season as their seed wheat. Most hybrids can be used for two or three years before they start reverting back to their foundation stock varities. Ag extension agencies recommend that farmers dribble in a little insecticide as they fill their bin in order to prevent weevil damage.

    As long as insects don't damage the grain it should be viable to plant for decades.
    As an example, when King Tut's tomb was searched they found some wheat seed. In the 1970s this seed was used propaged/crossed as needed, then "Tut" variety of wheat was released to farmers for planting. The use of it was short lived as newer and better varieties of wheat came along. If I recall correctly Tut wheat was a rather tall variety and was prone to lodging, which is what it is called wheat goes down from heavy rains or strong winds. It also takes extra fertilizer to grow stalk rather than seed, so shorter wheat came into favor. However if too short it causes harvesting problems.

    Most milling companies blend wheat to ensure the proper protien level, the proper glutten level, etc. There are a few varieties that pretty well meet the requirements by themselves. however. I think many here mention that Prairie Gold is a good one and I saw it recently in my local bulk food store.