Cereal Crops

Discussion about the small Australian acres. What we can plant, animals that work and how we can farm sustainably.
childoftheearth
Posts: 142
Joined: Wed Nov 11, 2009 12:12 pm

Cereal Crops

Postby childoftheearth » Tue Sep 07, 2010 9:01 am

Hi All,

Does anyone out there know anything about cereal crops?

I am toying with the idea of growing some wheat and oats for our own (human) consumption and animal feed. (Yes, my confidence in getting the new place is growing, will know for sure by the end of the week)

I have read some information on wheat yields expressed in bushels, which means nothing to me, I need to find out how much land I would need to put under wheat to produce enough flour for household use. If it would need multiple acres it would not be feasible because we will need to harvest, thresh and winnow without mechanical equipment.

As always, all advice and opinions welcome.

Thanks
Elaine

Mojojo
Posts: 501
Joined: Sun Nov 09, 2008 8:01 pm
Location: Perth and Donnybrook, WA

Re: Cereal Crops

Postby Mojojo » Tue Sep 07, 2010 11:47 am

Elaine I may be able to help a little - I've been doing some research as I am pretty much interested in doing the same thing myself, with some various wheat varieties, spelt, and even rice (no, it does not need all that water believe it or not!) - much to the chagrin of my other half.

The bushel measurement I do know about, having grown up on a sheep n wheat farm!
A bushel is about 27 kgs. (60 lb)
Three bushels to the 'bag', yields often referred to in bags per acre.

I found an article saying that the average Australian wheat yield is 1.7 tonnes per hectare.
So 1700 kgs per 100 x 100 m lot, meaning a 10 x 10 m patch would yield about 17 kgs.

From a very patchy memory, I think most of the years we went from 1 - 3 tonnes per hectare, (5 - 15 bags/acre) in a dryland farming environment (380mm rain) with over 15 bags a cracker of a year. I remember stories of the 20 bag year!

However the article also mentioned up to 6 tonnes per hectare in Tasmania, which would be 60 kgs for the 10 x 10 plot!

There are a few videos on You tube showing manual methods of threshing grain, most of them from traditional villages in Asia. (No you tube access on my work internet but I will find them tonight)
~ Jo
_________________
Two roads diverged in a wood and I -
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference.
~ Robert Frost

childoftheearth
Posts: 142
Joined: Wed Nov 11, 2009 12:12 pm

Re: Cereal Crops

Postby childoftheearth » Tue Sep 07, 2010 12:54 pm

Hi Jo,

You are, as always, my hero. I knew some of the forum member had grown up on farms. Now for the dumb questions:- does that yield figure represent total crop ie with stalks, or does it refer to grain yield?

I understand the basics of pre-industrial style harvesting - scythe it down, tie it in sheaves to dry, then bash the ears to release the grain, and finally winnow by tossing the grain in the wind to remove the chaff. Does that sound right? I think it will be quite fun (as long as there is a supermarket nearby) I'm not sure if I would like to have to rely on it for all our flour needs.

There is something else that you may be able to help me with. I saw a "baby" tractor (I believe they are called compact tractors) for sale in a farm paddock the other day. It was a, new-looking, 3 cylinder diesel "Yanmar" tractor that has a front bucket, rear slasher, a disc harrow and some other attachment with it. They are asking 20K, does that seem reasonable? I've been trying to find prices to compare without much luck.

Thanks for the input
Regards
Elaine

Mojojo
Posts: 501
Joined: Sun Nov 09, 2008 8:01 pm
Location: Perth and Donnybrook, WA

Re: Cereal Crops

Postby Mojojo » Tue Sep 07, 2010 6:54 pm

Do you know what model number the yanmar was? Or what horsepower? We were literally about to sign on the dotted line for one (35 hp, manual) when we found our fergie.
Yanmar are very good. The John Deers are literally out of the Yanmar factory with green paint on.
I have all the yanmar brochures with new prices as of a couple of months ago, if you would like me to scan and send them to you.

They basically come with maual gearbox or hydrostatic, manual is cheaper. (in a nutshell, as far as I understand it, hydrostatic: like an automatic, there's no clutch, but you still select a gear and the higher your revs the faster you go in that gear. Hydraulic driven not direct from the engine)

It will be VERY hard to compare used prices on them, as there are very few used ones around, people don't tend to offload them, which is a good sign. The dealer we went though reckons he's had a couple of trade ins on them only when the people were trading up to a larger horsepower version.

Yep yields are usually quoted in actual grain yield.
I reckon the threshing and winnowing sounds quite fun too.
People have been doing it by hand for millenia so there's no reason it can't be done that's for sure.

The thing with growing your own wheat will be selecting and obtaining seed varieties that are appropriate for what you want to use it for, hard varieties for bread & noodles, soft for biscuits and cakes. And higher rainfall eg tas, often means lower protein content, so less suitable for bread.
~ Jo
_________________
Two roads diverged in a wood and I -
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference.
~ Robert Frost

Mojojo
Posts: 501
Joined: Sun Nov 09, 2008 8:01 pm
Location: Perth and Donnybrook, WA

Re: Cereal Crops

Postby Mojojo » Tue Sep 07, 2010 7:20 pm

oooh, interesting link:
http://ltras.ucdavis.edu/itech-appropriate-technology-for-small-and-subsistence-farms-1/
including how to turn a mulcher into a thresher.
Hmmm.
~ Jo
_________________
Two roads diverged in a wood and I -
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference.
~ Robert Frost

Glyn
Posts: 199
Joined: Tue Feb 16, 2010 8:42 am

Re: Cereal Crops

Postby Glyn » Wed Sep 08, 2010 7:16 am

Hi Elaine,
That seems very expensive to me - one of the locals bought a compact Kubota brand new last year for about $13,500 with bucket, mower etc and we bought his old one with mower /tray /harrows for $4000. Ours is old but goes a treat and is all we need except it has no bucket or attachments for them, it was a second hand Jap import when he bought it.
Have a look here http://www.farmhub.com.au/DesktopDefaul ... TabID=3432 . Unfortunately I have some bug in my computer which hangs up on Google-Analytics so I cant find the other sites for you but try Googling Kubota and see what the new deals are.
Glyn


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