Friday, March 28, 2008

Welcome to the new blog on small scale grain and pulse production.  Actually information from any scale is probably useful, but I'm particularly interested in production at a scale in the sub acre to tens of acres range.  We'll see what we can get up here and we'd love to hear from anyone who has good information on production tools, techniques, and varieties.

10 comments:

nita said...

Hi Josh, this is a great idea! The last three years we have been concentrating on making our farm more self-sufficient. While we have moved away from grain consuming livestock on a large scale- we still eat grain ourselves. Early in our farm's history (1880's-1940's) oats were grown for livestock. I have been planting Abenaki Flint Corn (8 row) for 3 years and each year the seed is more acclimated to our microclimate. Incidentally, there was an on-farm corn cannery in Corbett through WWII. Their main variety was Golden Bantam. They saved their own seed and value-added by canning it on the farm.
I look forward to reading and learning more! Thanks again
http://matronofhusbandry.wordpress.com/

Heloise7 said...

Hi! We are growing barley on Lopez Island, in the San Juan Islands of Washington State. We are interested in trying no-till planting but are not finding anyone who is trying this or has the equipment. Any thoughts on this?

We are going to a grain symposium for the county next week. Seems like the time for small farm grain production is now!

B.Lucy said...

Hi- great to hear thoughts and comments about others in the grain world...feeling kinda lonely up here in Northern Washington. Thanks Josh for putting it out there. A few tid bits on the processing of Emmer and Spelt. Ancient grains in general have a hull at harvest (Emmer, spelt, barley). In order to use them for human consumption the hull needs to be taken off the grain- delicatly! There are a few different types of processes that do this- the most important one being the process that keeps the whole grain in tact. There is equipment that does this right here in good ole USA. A lot of the Emmer / Spelt that comes out of italy is "pearled" because pearling is a much easier/quicker process than de-hulling the grain. Pearling or scowering shaves off the hull with metal plates ( this includes shaving off the the germ /bran) taking away most of the grain's nutritional value. Once grain is pearled it immediatly begins to oxidize and the inner layer of the grain is exposed (similar to flour) and the oils can get rancid over time. A pearled grain will not sprout.

We chose a more difficult route to process whole grain emmer- why spend all of this time cultivating and growing a extreemly nutritious grain if you are just going to shave off its most valuable part.

To maintain the integrity of the whole grain we put Emmer through a piece of equipment that literally spins the hull off by cyntriphical force. The grain and husk fall to the bottom and then need to be separated. It takes a few different cleaning machines to separate the hulls from the whole grain. Then the Grain is put onto a gravity table (the coolest machine ever) which separates the whole grain by weight. This allows us to grade our grain and sell/plant highest quality grain wile keeping it whole. The smaller grains are milled into flour or cracked for cereal.

It is very important to consume grains as "whole grains" or freshly milled because of their rich nutritional properties/enzymes. Emmer is one of the few grains that is high in iron, protien,zinc & B vitamins. More later. Heloise7-I don't know what to tell you regarding no-till, we have never quite believed in no-till- more on that later! I would recommend looking further into it. We do have a blog just starting up... please feel free to comment. Time for bed. Peace! b.lucy

Anthony at Ayers Creek said...

Nita,

I am curious whether you have developed any preference for kernel color in the Abenaki (Roy’s Calais) Flint.

In our field, I have noticed that the ears with red pigmented kernels tend to ripen earliest. This is a pattern seen in other varieties of maize. The lightest yellows seem to be out of kilt with the rest of the field, and are late ripening, and often poorly pollinated. Also, if there are any ear worms, they will be in the light yellow ears. The red ears are more prone to aphids, but that doesn’t hurt the grain as they are feeding in the husk.

We have selected heavily for the red and orange pigmentation, and this seems to improve ear size and the ripening in the field. The red trait is recessive. I suspect the red kernels have better cold soil germination as well.

Anthony

jason said...

All you folks raising grains are awesome! Local Grain raising is absolutely the wave(no pun intended)of the future. Can anyone put me in contact with Anthony at Ayers Creek? I would like to purchase some Arabian Blue Barley in Bulk. Thanks.

nita said...

Anthony - Interesting observations of Roy's Calais. A neighbor shared her seeds with me in 2005. On May 28 2005, I planted those seeds, and a hybrid SE that I usually grow. We had two very wet, cold weeks, and I assumed we would replant all the corn, since there was no sign of any corn. The hybrid rotted, and when the soil was dry enough to work, a close inspection revealed the Flint corn coming up. The resulting harvest was predominately the orangey yellow, and some red. I now get very few of the light yellow, I suspect they succumbed during that first planting. This confirms what you have seen.

Anthony at Ayers Creek said...

Nita,

Thanks for the confirmation.

The northern 8-row flints are grown in northern Italy, where they go by the name “otto file,” as well as in the northeastern US. The Italians also grow popcorn types, called pignoletto or variations of the word, but they grind them for polenta. The grain has a higher density, 65 lb per bushel versus the 56 lb per bushel for dent corn. The 8-row flints run about 63 lb per bushel. The pignoletto ears look like pinecones, and the kernels like pine nuts, hence the name. Amish Butter is not only a good popcorn, it also produces a very good white cornmeal. The pignolettos have a yellow endosperm, producing yellow cornmeal.

In the foothills of the Alps, you can often predict the altitude where the maize was grown by the kernel color. I met a farmer who grew a dark red pignoletto at about 1,500 meters (4,900 feet) in the alpine region between France and Italy. It had small conical ears and very small kernels. The high anthocyanin content probably wards off fungal attack in cold soil; sweet corn breeders have seen a similar effect with red kernels. Lower down the valleys, there is a transition to orange, then yellow.

Last winter, I tossed some culled flint kernels on the compost, and they germinated in 50-degree weather. The frost got them, but it still amazed me. This never happens with the dents; they turn moldy in short order. Kernels of the white Seneca Flint, as well as Roy’s Calais, probably in mouse caches, have over-wintered, germinated and grown in our field.

Regarding germination, our staff suggested that we keep the kernels on the ear until we are ready to plant. Apparently, adherence to the cob protects the seed’s viability. We started following this practice last year. The seed emerged very quickly.

Anthony

nita said...

Anthony, I'm relieved to know my procrastination on leaving the kernels on the cob is actually something I should be doing! I have always left that to the last minute before planting.

Michelle Ajamian said...

Hi to all-
We are particularly interested in knowing about the process of harvesting and hulling various crops. Can someone among you tell us what sort of equipment you think is best for harvest, hulling, milling, etc?

Here in Ohio, we are in our first year of testing quinoa, millet, amaranth, buckwheat, barley, meal corn, & adzuki all chosen for their nutrition. We'd like to try spelt and kamut.
Our aim is about food security, understanding that while we have fabulous local organic farmers and markets providing a degree of veggies and fruits, and some meat and dairy, everyone still heads to the grocery for staples like beans, grains, nuts, and seed that are shipped from far and wide. In addition to our 25 acre farm, which is mostly forest, we have plots on three other sites, including two certified organic farms, one of which runs a year round veggie CSA (Green Edge Gardens).

Also, are you all thinking about harvesting cooperatively? We are just looking into how it would be to develop a coop of growers to share equipment and meet some market interest collectively.

Thanks for being there.

Michelle Ajamian said...

Hi to all-
We are particularly interested in knowing about the process of harvesting and hulling various crops. Can someone among you tell us what sort of equipment you think is best for harvest, hulling, milling, etc?

Here in Ohio, we are in our first year of testing quinoa, millet, amaranth, buckwheat, barley, meal corn, & adzuki all chosen for their nutrition. We'd like to try spelt and kamut.
Our aim is about food security, understanding that while we have fabulous local organic farmers and markets providing a degree of veggies and fruits, and some meat and dairy, everyone still heads to the grocery for staples like beans, grains, nuts, and seed that are shipped from far and wide. In addition to our 25 acre farm, which is mostly forest, we have plots on three other sites, including two certified organic farms, one of which runs a year round veggie CSA (Green Edge Gardens).

Also, are you all thinking about harvesting cooperatively? We are just looking into how it would be to develop a coop of growers to share equipment and meet some market interest collectively.

Thanks for being there. michelle