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jojox

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Doing a bit of digging...
Sprague Farm grows spring malting barley (conlon) in your neck of the woods and makes their own beer.
Thanks Farside!

Yes, I've met Joel Hunter at Sprague as part of a research group with Penn State and some others. They have a great operation going on over there, but they are in the diagonally opposite side of the state from us! I think it's actually much more difficult growing barley over there then in the South Eastern side where I am.

Anyway Joel is a really great guy and it seems like they have a ton of fun up there. That place is definitely on my list of places to visit!
 

Farside

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I started last fall with about the same amount of seed you started with. I grew out about 80 plants in the greenhouse last winter. This spring, I planted about 1000 sq ft with 450 g of seed from the greenhouse. It was too thin of a seeding rate but its what I had. I now have about 24 lbs in less than a year (but 2 growing cycles). Next spring I have a little 1/5 acre spot with its name on it.
Wow that's quick. I wonder if that will work where I am. We get permanent snow on the ground for 5 months of the year, and I'm certainly not likely to get close to even 100 grams from this season's harvest.

As an aside, you interested in swapping some genetic material? I've been thinking that the genetic diversity from a 5 gram sample is most likely pretty narrow, and one of the reasons I'm so interested in heritage barley is maintaining the genetic lines.
 

Farside

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The Hana harvest is in and the chevalier looks to be about a week out.

It looks like the maturity of these are going to shape up to be a nicely spaced harvesting succession.
 

mlsuggs

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Someone was from Maryland - we have a farmer there growing for us and he did very well this year.

It's all winter barley here, there are thousands of acres of winter barley grown in PA, but it's all for feed, minus whatever we planted which was a drop in the bucket.
That would be me, from Maryland. So far, I'm happiest with the winter barleys, for production volume; Maris Otter and/or Halcyon seem quite happy here, less the terrible winter we had this year. The jury is out on the spring barley (Hana)--although the Conlon seemed to do fine. And there's the Bere, which I'm doing mostly for historical purposes; it's growing, but not as robustly as it might.

There's lots of feed barley grown hereabouts, as well; I don't know what kind. Plenty of dairies in the area to act as customers for that stuff, though.

Cheers!

--Misha
 

Farside

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We got our first frost last night so winter is rapidly approaching. The Chevalier is still not ready for harvest, and seems like it's just sitting there doing nothing. The seed heads are fully formed but still green / yellow.

I'm wondering if the season here is too short for this variety. I've harvested some which ripened early, but the bulk of it might not make it. :-(
 

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Congratulations on your project. How about malting the barley? That seems like the most difficult part. Even the big brewers don't do that..... Are you going to test you hops for Alpha acid? It seems like you will have enormous startup costs for what you get, but I wish you well.
 

Farside

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I did some reading after being forced to harvest my green Chevalier.

It seems like you can very easily plant barley too late but it's difficult to plant it too early.

Looking at the department of Agriculture publications, I should be sowing about 2 weeks earlier than I did. Maybe even earlier than that.

Planting early means that the barley will ripen during more favourable weather and the resulting product will be cleaner.

I noticed a lot of mine is quite weathered and some has a bit of what might be mold. It turns out that rain and frost near harvest time will do this.

So my final tally for this season was:
Hana - Sowed 12 grams, harvested 225 grams
Golden Promise - Sowed 28 grams, harvested 195 grams
Chevalier - Sowed 5 grams, harvested 26 grams

This means that next season I should be putting down a leguminous crop in preparation for the first sizeable planting in 2016! I might even malt some at the end of the 2016 season. I must say, this is very slow going...
 

Farside

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Does anyone here screen their barley before maltng? I noticed that the commercial guys are pretty particular about their malting barley.

Roughly 60% of a malting barley crop is rejected due to things like damaged or thin husks, small grains, weathered grains, or mould / mildew.

Apparently you should run the grain over a 6/64'' (2.38 mm) perforated screen to remove the small grains. I had a look and those are mighty expensive sieves. There has to be a cheap way of making a screen...
 

Farside

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The reason I'm thinking about this is because small grains logically result in a high husk to starch ratio in the mash tun. That means more barley will be required to hit the correct OG which isn't a huge deal. However I'm thinking about the additional tannins in the extra husks. Normally you stop sparging at a given gravity to prevent tannins from leaching out, but is tannin leaching a continuous process or a triggered one?

If tannin leaching is a continuous process then the gravity readings that determine when to stop sparging are giving the brewer an indication of when extraction of sugars no longer outweighs the tannin extracts from a cost / benefit point of view.

IF this is the case, then small grains in the mash will always result in a beer with elevated tannins, which is undesirable.

Is there any knowledgeable person who knows the answer to this?
 

CitizenCane

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I don't worry about it BUT most of the barley I've malted has been 6 row feed barley so its normally smaller seeds with higher fiber and protein. Its hard to make heavy wort, maybe 20 or 25% more malt but I think my best batches have been made this way. I do rough it up a little and blow out as much fines as I can but I don't screen to size.

As far as the little gray spots: I planted 2 small patches of 6R last spring. One was very weedy so I tore it out and replanted to barley about July 1 just to keep the weeds from going to seed. The other was harvested in August. We had some wet weather right before harvest. It also had a few little gray splotches but other than that, looked ok. I tried malting 1 batch and it sprouted slow and molded up. Gave the rest (about 15 bu) to a buddy that has some sheep. I harvested the late planted field in October. I haven't malted any yet but it looks and smells good and is plump for feed barley. It didn't yield very well but I should have enough for at least a 100 gallon of beer.

Where in Canada are you? You should be able to grow good barley in the prairie. Wet areas can be a little tougher. You should be ok replanting it next spring but it wouldn't hurt to put a little fungicide seed treatment on it.

Looking up the page a ways, I noticed you had a question for me that I didn't get back to you about (sorry bout that). Genetic diversity in a single variety is not important or even wanted. A variety is (should be) inbred where every plant in the variety is similar to every other plant. Any plant that looks out of place should be rouged out. In this way, all plants in the field will be ready to harvest within a few days and will all be the same height, allowing for a fast, easy harvest. On a farm basis, genetic diversity is important and is achieved by planting several different varieties. With that said, if you and I split a bag of seed and grew it at two different environments for several years (say Wyoming and Canada) and then planted them side by side, they would look different. There is diversity in these old varieties and it (theoretically) is present in even a 5 gram sample. What will change when it is grown for several generations in a given environment is the gene frequency and possibly transgenerational epistasis (but I digress). Bottom line is sure, I think this can be a great forum for trading seed when people get to the point of having more than they know what to do with.
 

Farside

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That's very interesting. So cereals are not like animals where inbreeding causes weakness...

I'm in North West Ontario. Cooler summers, more rain, and less wind than the prairies from what I can gather. Barley does grow well here. Low humidity.
 

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That's very interesting. So cereals are not like animals where inbreeding causes weakness...

I'm in North West Ontario. Cooler summers, more rain, and less wind than the prairies from what I can gather. Barley does grow well here. Low humidity.
No, it does. Severely so, but some plant species handle it much easier than others but generally inbreeding depression is apparent after several generations and out-crossing will introduce new genetic backgrounds into the mix to keep the populations from depleting all variation present.
 

Farside

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I'm wondering about the possibility of growing barley indoors with fluorescent lights assisting growth.

Has anyone tried this? I know people grow barley indoors for juicing but I haven't heard of it seeding.
 

jojox

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Does anyone here screen their barley before maltng? I noticed that the commercial guys are pretty particular about their malting barley.

Roughly 60% of a malting barley crop is rejected due to things like damaged or thin husks, small grains, weathered grains, or mould / mildew.

Apparently you should run the grain over a 6/64'' (2.38 mm) perforated screen to remove the small grains. I had a look and those are mighty expensive sieves. There has to be a cheap way of making a screen...
Yes, it is most useful to sort the seeds by size. That said, I wouldn't think it is critical at your scale. In general those tiny, thin seeds have lower germination rates and contribute very little extract to your batch.
 

jojox

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I'm wondering about the possibility of growing barley indoors with fluorescent lights assisting growth.

Has anyone tried this? I know people grow barley indoors for juicing but I haven't heard of it seeding.
You mean starting germination indoors, and planting outside after the seeds have sprouted? Or growing a crop indoors? My very assumption-laden calculations say for a 5 gallon batch of beer, you need about 100 square feet of barley, maybe 200 square feet - for maybe 9-18 pounds of malt.

The cost seems staggering. But I would imagine if you want to spend the time and money, you could do it. Maybe hydroponic barley? Maybe a greenhouse is the way to go?

It just goes to show you the scale of these large malting operations. One batch of malt at the largest producers (400T batches) consumes 200-300 acres of barley. Maybe more depending on the efficiency and grain cleaning criteria.
 

CitizenCane

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No, it does. Severely so, but some plant species handle it much easier than others but generally inbreeding depression is apparent after several generations and out-crossing will introduce new genetic backgrounds into the mix to keep the populations from depleting all variation present.
Actually, self pollinated crops, like wheat, barley, oats, soybeans,show very little, if any inbreeding depression. They also show very little hybrid vigor. Hybrid wheat cultivars show only about 10 or 15% hybrid vigor, not enough of a yield increase to pay for the added cost of seed production except in very high yielding environments. Normally cross pollinated crops, like corn, sorghum, sunflowers, show a large amount of inbreeding depression and a large amount of hybrid vigor when these inbrebs are crossed. However, there is still a still a small amount of expressed genetic diversity in a field of a hybrid crop. Every plant is nearly genetically identical to every other plant in the field. If one plant gets sick from a given disease, chances are 99.44% of the rest are also susceptible to that disease.

With small grains, like wheat and barley, a released variety is the progeny of 7 or more self pollinations, making it roughly 98.5% inbred (homozygous at 98.5% of the loci). Even in a field situation, barley will only out cross at a rate of 2 or 3% so a 100 year old variety has already self pollinated a lot of times. The lack of genetic variability in a given variety allows for the use of modern equipment, rapid harvests, and other management practices that allow for maximizing yields at lower or consistent input levels. Genetic diversity is maintained by planting many different varieties over a region. Right or wrong, this is modern agriculture.
 

PapaBearJay

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Actually, self pollinated crops, like wheat, barley, oats, soybeans,show very little, if any inbreeding depression. They also show very little hybrid vigor. Hybrid wheat cultivars show only about 10 or 15% hybrid vigor, not enough of a yield increase to pay for the added cost of seed production except in very high yielding environments. Normally cross pollinated crops, like corn, sorghum, sunflowers, show a large amount of inbreeding depression and a large amount of hybrid vigor when these inbrebs are crossed. However, there is still a still a small amount of expressed genetic diversity in a field of a hybrid crop. Every plant is nearly genetically identical to every other plant in the field. If one plant gets sick from a given disease, chances are 99.44% of the rest are also susceptible to that disease.

With small grains, like wheat and barley, a released variety is the progeny of 7 or more self pollinations, making it roughly 98.5% inbred (homozygous at 98.5% of the loci). Even in a field situation, barley will only out cross at a rate of 2 or 3% so a 100 year old variety has already self pollinated a lot of times. The lack of genetic variability in a given variety allows for the use of modern equipment, rapid harvests, and other management practices that allow for maximizing yields at lower or consistent input levels. Genetic diversity is maintained by planting many different varieties over a region. Right or wrong, this is modern agriculture.
Many self-pollinated crops, do in fact show inbreeding depression but in many breeding programs, the selection indices are formed based on the dominant and additive gene action which means those varieties being released are usually superior because they contain the "good" genes.

One reason hybrid seed-production is not used in grain crops is because of the inefficiencies of crossing between parents as compared to corn or sorghum.

Yes, diversity is maintained by planting different varieties with different backgrounds but the average size of the plant genome in agricultural crops is between 1.7 - 2.5 Gb. The average size gene is 1.5 Kb. That means that even at 98.5% homozygosity there are 2.55 Mb of genomic material that is variable and can be distributed across the genome in different regions. That creates a lot of potential for variability and it shouldn't just be assumed that the variability within a variety is exhausted.

Take the Illinois Field Corn experiment that has existed for over 100 years. This long-term selection experiment has demonstrated many things, but most of all that the response to selection over a century has not reduced the variation present within these different populations which are self-pollinated, not cross-pollinated.
 

Farside

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You mean starting germination indoors, and planting outside after the seeds have sprouted? Or growing a crop indoors? My very assumption-laden calculations say for a 5 gallon batch of beer, you need about 100 square feet of barley, maybe 200 square feet - for maybe 9-18 pounds of malt.

The cost seems staggering. But I would imagine if you want to spend the time and money, you could do it. Maybe hydroponic barley? Maybe a greenhouse is the way to go?

It just goes to show you the scale of these large malting operations. One batch of malt at the largest producers (400T batches) consumes 200-300 acres of barley. Maybe more depending on the efficiency and grain cleaning criteria.
No, I was meaning just a pot. I'm looking for ways to accelerate the grow out time from a 5 gram starting quantity. If I can grow indoors in the winter, then I can get 2 crops a year in the beginning.
 

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Due to birds and other animals, my harvest last year was pretty modest. I planted all of it last week to maximize this years batch. Germination rate was 100% on the 20 or so grains I tested. I hope to have enough to brew up a batch entirely from my own malts this summer. The area I'm working with is about 100m^2 or 1000ft^2
 

Farside

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While waiting for the ground to thaw, I decided to get ready for an experiment of sorts...

This season I will be continuing growing out the spring barley samples I got from the gene bank. The barley variety I got last season was chevalier and it produced 30 grams of seed. So this year I'm placing this seed onto seed tape so that I know exactly what the planting density is, and reduce some of my planting work when the spring eventually comes.

Here is a photo of my seed tape, made from two ply toilet paper and corn starch glue. I separated the toilet paper ply and placed glue dots every 2 inches so that each square contained 8 seeds, which I pressed gently into the glue dots. I then replaced the previously removed ply over the top so that the seeds are sandwiched between the plys.

20150325_120244.jpg
 

Farside

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So I got through most of the seed and realised I had placed them at 1.5 inch spacing, so I did the rest at 2 inch spacing once I discovered my error.

The tape at the bottom of this picture has seeds at 2 inch spacing compared to the ones above it that have 1.5 inch spacings.

20150325_131310.jpg
 

Farside

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Last year, I noticed that different barley varieties mature at different rates.

My Golden Promise is the first to mature, followed a few weeks later by Hana, and then a few weeks later again by Chevalier. In fact, the Chevalier was still a little green when the frosts returned in the fall.

This year, I'm planting a month early. Barley is supposed to be frost hardy, and the soil temperature is between 5 and 8 degrees C (around 45F).

I planted some Hana and all the Chevalier just before a rain system came on, and was patting myself on the back when a second system followed through and dumped 2 inches of snow. Luckily my planting is small and I covered the ground with cardboard for a few days. Time will tell if anything will survive.

I'm also experimenting with plant adaptation. Last year, my Hana and Golden Promise produced two distinct crops even though the seed was all planted out at the same time. I harvested roughly half of the crop about 3 weeks earlier than the rest, and I kept the harvests separate.

I'm going to plant these apart and see if there is a difference this year in their growth habit. I know plants will adapt to local conditions over time, and I'm hoping that this is the beginning of this behaviour. We get about 90 days of frost free growing season, and if I want barley that isn't weathered at harvest then I need it mature well before September.

So the snow didn't harm the barley, and even though we're getting frosts every morning, my Hana, Chevalier, and Golden Promise are all up and busy growing. What I've noticed is that although the Chevalier was about 3 days slower for the seedlings to emerge, it's growing considerably faster now that it's up. What will be interesting is finding out when the plants fully catch up, and maybe even pass the Hana, which was planted at the same time.

Edit: So we're expecting some overnight wet snow on May 12. All the barley is now in advanced emergence and I'm not too sure if I'll cover it or just leave it be. We're expecting about 1/2 an inch, and it will thaw as soon as it hits the ground (the ambient temperature won't go below freezing) and I'm thinking that it may actually be less harmful than a hard frost. If I cover the crop, I'm worried about damaging the young plants with the weight of the cover. What to do...

Edit: Well, it did snow and I covered the plants with a coconut fibre erosion control matting. It seemed to do the trick. But now, a week later we have had more snow overnight and the plants were uncovered. I'm going to see how they go, and maybe cover them this evening as we're expecting the sky to clear, which means a hard frost. The air temps have been just on or a bit above zero, but when the cloud cover goes, it will drop another 5 degrees.
 

Farside

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Well, I'm learning a lesson in the importance of seed spacing and why a seed drill is such a great innovation (at least for me who can't broadcast seed to save myself).

My Chevalier is in its second season. Last year I used very old seed from the gene bank and it was pretty weak and lethargic. I've grown to expect this from very old seed, and so this year I was looking forward to seeing how this variety really grows. I went to the effort (as I described here) to space the seed into a seed tape matrix using a correct spacing as advised by the various Ag departments in North America.

I planted it a week later than the other barley, but it's still been exposed to two dumps of snow, and numerous frosts. Right now, the plants are at least 3 times bigger than any of my other barley, and couldn't be more healthy.

On the other hand, the Hana and Golden promise is looking a bit sickly. They are planted in new beds, in different parts of the garden, with composted manure applied to them. They're both looking like they are suffering from Nitrogen deficiency, which might be a lack of Nitrogen, or a lack of their ability to uptake the Nitrogen due to the amount of rain we've had this spring. Yes, it's been cool and wet here. My spinach is growing great, and it usually just bolts and I was about to give up growing it at this end of the season. That's a good indicator of wet conditions and even temperatures.

Looking at my Hana and golden promise, it's obvious that I broadcasted way too densely and unevenly, which is probably making the matter worse. will they survive my ham fisted effort? Probably. I might lose some yield, but I'm learning some important lessons.

I've been learning more about how soil biology interacts with plants and I think I now have a good handle on why my barley is turning yellow. Too much water displaces air in the soil. This causes the biology in the soil that converts nitrogen to a plant available form to die, and anaerobic organisms to take their place. These produce toxic by-products which can make the matter worse. The situation will slowly remedy itself as the moisture content in the soil drops provided the soil is healthy. Since these are new beds I would say that the soil is probably not in optimum condition, and so I think I'll give it a big dose of soil organisms shortly.

If anyone is interested in this sort of thing, here is a video by one of the worlds leading experts in soil biology:
[ame]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GEtl09VZiSU[/ame]

Oh, I forgot to mention that I ran out of space in my garden to plant the later maturing Hana and Golden Promise. So last week I went and did a bit of "gorilla gardening" and planted it at a site that was recently excavated as part of a road upgrading project in my neighbourhood. The workers planted rye as an erosion control, and I also planted some hard red wheat as a deer diversion, and my Khorasan durum to keep them all company. So I have something like an artificial landrace going on :)
 

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Wow, this thread is awesome. I jumped headlong into trying to grow some barley this year. I wish I had seen this thread before I tried it.

Regardless, I've already learned a lot from my own experience. That plus all of the information in this thread (and a couple others) is going to have me a lot more prepared the next time around.
 

Farside

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Well, this year I had very mixed results.
I had trouble finding space for my Hana, Golden Promise, and heritage wheats, so I broke new ground for them. Even then, I didn't have enough ground and I over seeded significantly.

The plants came up, but within a few weeks were looking sickly and weak. I added some blood and bone to boot their nitrogen supply, and it helped a bit, but my yields are terrible, and the grains very small. I am just gutted.

On the other hand, the Chevallier that I placed onto seed tape was planted in my garden where no fertilizer is used. That stuff grew to over 5ft high and has huge, plump grains.

Here are some photos...

hana.jpg


chev.jpg


heads.jpg


plants.jpg
 
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What a difference soil and seeding rate make.

Sorry for the mixed results. I can't help seeing a silver lining, though -- you learned a great deal from the variation and then shared it with the community. There are so few of us right now, and with every variable-yield harvest, we're building the home growing community!

The healthy plants look really great!

And BTW, I think if you have one grain of home-grown in your beer, it counts! I still haven't achieved the thread title of 100% homegrown. The fields I was using are unavailable these days. Maybe someday when I retire to a farm...
 

signpost

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I've definitely learned a lot from my attempts this summer. I'm planning on doing seed tape next year to get the spacing right.
 
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seed tape next year
Sounds like a good idea. Barley definitely has an optimal range for spacing. Let us know how it goes!

Could be a lot less expensive than shelling for a plate seeder! If it works out, I think I would do the same in my next planting.
 

Farside

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I made my tape with 2-ply toilet paper.

I separated the plys and glued the seeds onto one of the plys. I then placed the ply I put aside over the top so that the seeds were sandwiched between them.

Normally this isn't necessary, but barley seeds are starting to get big enough that the glue might not hold and the seeds might fall off during handling.

The glue I used was 1 1/2 tsp of corn starch dissolved in a little cold water, and then 1 litre of boiling water mixed in. Once it cools, you are left with a goopy mixture you can apply with a squeeze bottle. You can add less water if you want it thicker, but then it becomes more difficult to dispense. It's worth experimenting at home with some barley from the bulk store.

It took me about an hour to make enough tape to cover about 1 square meter. At the time I thought it was a complete waste of time, and even now I wouldn't do it on a large scale. But it's fantastic for experimenting or growing out.

I'll be using a hand seed drill for anything more than 100g of seed. Something like this:
https://www.veseys.com/ca/en/store/tools/seedersand/earthway?gclid=CI-_-tWVwscCFQenaQodkzEBow
 

Farside

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So I made a handheld screener with some cardboard boxes and stainless mesh (I think was 8 mesh or 10) that has the hole diameter used for grading malt barley.

Nowadays they use slotted screens but mesh is 1/10th of the price.

Screener-front.jpg


Screener-top.jpg
 

Farside

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Here is my harvest.
The two on the left are Hana and Golden Promise, while the one on the right is Chevalier. There is more there than the other two put together.

This is what I planted this spring:
Hana - 225 grams
Golden Promise - 195 grams
Chevalier - 26 grams

This is what I harvested:
Hana - 95 grams
Golden Promise - 95 grams
Chevalier - 430 grams!

There is a lesson in there somewhere...

Harvest 2015.jpg
 

Farside

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Now I find this interesting. Agriculture texts recommend a seeding rate of 25 to 30 plants per square foot for dry land planting.

A 3 inch spacing achieves close to that at 23 per square foot.

I sowed at a 2 inch spacing which is 46 per square foot.

Next season I'll be sowing on a larger scale. Do I go with the ag department recommend density or my experimental density?
 

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This thread is awesome. I read everything front to back and am very proud of this amount of crazy in this community and hope to emulate it someday.
 
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Now I find this interesting. Agriculture texts recommend a seeding rate of 25 to 30 plants per square foot for dry land planting.

A 3 inch spacing achieves close to that at 23 per square foot.

I sowed at a 2 inch spacing which is 46 per square foot.

Next season I'll be sowing on a larger scale. Do I go with the ag department recommend density or my experimental density?
Hey Farside,

If you were irrigating and fertilizing, I'd say the seeding rate isn't critically important, because the plants can tiller to some extent to fill their space. (My first crop was somewhat under-seeded, for example, but I still got a yield close to a commercial yield.)

But if you're dryland farming, I would follow the recommended seeding rate as closely as possible.

It seems irrigated farming is overly-optimized for hobbyists like us -- most of the recommendations are designed to squeeze out a few extra percent yield. Could make you beau coups $ on 100,000 acres, but doesn't matter for us. I was obsessed with things like this in earlier posts, then realized that irrigated farming is easy.

But dryland farming, I bet, is more of a challenge, and the recommendations more critical. There's a reason the ancient civilizations all sprung up around rivers (Nile, Tigris, Euphrates, etc.), because dry farming is freaking hard! Hit as many recommendations as you can, I would say.
 

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That looks like a great idea, but you are WAAAYYY to dense on the seeding there. Unless you have a very low germination rate, you are going to overcrowd the seeds and they are going to fight with each other for everything. Look at modern farming, the seeds are planted in a single row with only one or two seed pairings, and the seeds are place about 1-2 inches apart in the rows, with the rows being anywhere from 7-13 inches apart. You have to remember that cereal grains tiller, they produce more than one growing stem off of each seed, with them being as crowded as that is, there probably won't be much tillering going on.
 

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I bought white sonora wheat and winter rye. Small amounts anyone use these. I plan to feed rabbits greens and use the rye to add nutrients to my garden green manure idea. May or may not let rye go toa seed. Just wondered if anyone any experience with either of those grains
 
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white sonora wheat and winter rye
Winter crops often have a vernalization requirement. You can learn about it for each grain to make sure your winter will meet the requirements.

If you decide to use those grains for a higher calling than rabbit food, do let them go to seed and completely dry on the stalk. You can malt just about any grain. Don't let anyone tell you you need malting varieties.

Finally, plan to use some rice hulls in the mash since wheat and rye hulls fall off during threshing.

Good luck!
 
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drummstikk

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you are WAAAYYY to dense on the seeding there
Is it too high for dry land farming? The question was not about conventional farming (cultivation and irrigation).

I would almost always follow guidelines for something like seeding rate. Professional agriculture researchers know more than we do.
 

lurker18

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Winter crops often have a vernalization requirement. You can learn about it for each grain to make sure your winter will meet the requirements.

If you decide to use those grains for a higher calling than rabbit food, do let them go to seed and completely dry on the stalk. You can malt just about any grain. Don't let anyone tell you you need malting varieties.

Finally, plan to use some rice hulls in the mash since wheat and rye hulls fall off during threshing.

Good luck!
True, you can malt anything that contains starch. At work we worked on peas as a base, but it was total crap. If you are going to go to the effort to grow and malt you own, wait better part of a year to do all of this, why wouldn't you start with something that has been designed for what you intend. Yes, all barley varieties will malt, but the ones designed for malting will give much superior end results.
 

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Is it too high for dry land farming? The question was not about conventional farming (cultivation and irrigation).

I would almost always follow guidelines for something like seeding rate. Professional agriculture researchers know more than we do.
As mentioned before, 25 plants per square foot is what you are looking for. You need to remember that not every seed you plant will grow, so you have to include for germination loss. On commercial seed (the stuff farmers grow) that is typically 95% plus, so 5% of the seeds you plant will not grow. I would start with that and work from there.
 

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