I was curious about what it would take to grow my own grains. I’m thinking specifically of oatmeal here, although corn could be a good one to try too. So, I ran some numbers and thought some of y’all might be interested to see them.
There are a few different varieties of oats available, with the 2 most popular being white oats and red oats. White oats are grown more in the northern areas, whereas red oats are grown in warmer areas with mild winters. For anyone growing oats on a small scale, hull-less oats are ideal because they need a lot less processing after harvest time. This means you won’t need access to a commercial thresher.
Oats generally grow well in marginal soil and cool damp climates but will tolerate cool and dry. The plant, which grows to about 1 yard/meter tall, is sown as either winter oats in the autumn or spring oats. In either case it should be sown as early as possible in the growing season. I’m thinking here in Iowa I would need to plant it as an early spring wheat.
Assuming I go with a hull-less variety I’ll need to acquire at least 1/2 pound of seed. (1/100th of an acre) Although, it might be prudent to get a pound that way I can reseed if disaster strikes.
Seeding rates for hull-less oats is different than for normal oat varieties. Usually hull-less varieties will have a lower germination. Adjusting the seeding rate for germination is very important. The recommended seeding rate for normal oat varieties is one million live seed per acre which is approximately 60 to 75 lbs/A having 15,000 to 17,000 seeds per pound. In comparison, hull-less oats will have significantly smaller seed size, typically having 18,000 – 21,000 seeds per pound. The seeding rate for hull-less oats at one million live seed per acre is equivalent to 45 to 55 pounds to the acre. From North Dakota U.
Good grain farmers can get 3000 lbs/acre of oats. I don’t need anywhere close to that amount, and I’m guessing I won’t be a good grain farmer for at least a few years. So, let’s lower that to 2500lbs/acre, and if I plant 1/100th of an acre, I could harvest close to 25 pounds, that sounds closer to what my family could eat in a year. 1/100th of an acre is about 40 square meters. Not only would I get grain from the planting, I would get oat straw, which is much loved by many domestic animals. Barring that I could probably put it to good use in the garden.
Really, the only thing I know about grain crops is an old rhyme.
“One for the grub, one for the rot. One for the birds and one for the pot. ”
It’s a planting rhyme. I don’t even know where its from. So, I’m no master at this, but 40 square meters, that doesn’t sound so bad. And a pound of oat seed, I bet that’s not too costly. I’ve wasted more money than that on garden schemes in the past. 😀
Prognosis: Doable. Not with the land I have in my control right now, I don’ t quite have that much, but it would be doable if I could find the space nearby. Could be an interesting experiment if nothing else.
Do we have any readers growing some small grain crops? Sound off with tips, I’m tempted by this scheme.
– Calamity Jane