lets talk about wheat and small grains

User avatar
Bower
Reactions:
Posts: 4036
Joined: Thu Dec 12, 2019 12:44 pm
Location: Newfoundland, Canada

lets talk about wheat and small grains

#1

Post: # 87280Unread post Bower
Fri Jan 20, 2023 5:39 pm

I've been experimenting with small grains (wheat, barley and mixtures with peas) for two years now as a rotation for my garlic beds. I started with two wheats (Akmolinka and Blue Tinge Emmer from Salt Spring Seeds) and hulless barley (Arabian Blue and Faust) and hulless oats (Terra) in 2021. Then last year I went to Prairie Garden Seeds for some different bread wheats and species wheats to trial.
I grew these:
Prelude - earliest wheat bred in Canada.
Huron - recommended for eastern Canada, tolerates wet weather.
Purple Wheat - not sure of the origin, but the grains are purple with antho.
and species wheats:
Rivet - a version of "miracle wheat" with big branched heads
and two zanduri wheat species from Georgia:
Militina - free threshing with flat rounded heads, tetraploid
Zhukovsky - hulled, hexaploid species wheat
also two hulled spelts
Goldkorn, which I fall planted in 2021
"Spring Spelt" unnamed variety from PGS
and a hulled emmer Black Hulled.

I also got a perennial wheat species, xTriticum aasea Salish Blue, which I planted in spring (some survived rabbit ravages) and again in fall (these are doing very well so fingers crossed to see the grain this season).

Anyway grain has really seized onto me as something I want to grow. I've always neglected the grass family. Didn't even have a lawn. Kinda got fond of a few odd sedges and things that volunteered of the years, but otherwise, grass is just a weed and a source of compost material.

I would love to trade stories about how this wheat or that is doing for you, if you're growing it, and what you think about it and end uses.
There was a thread GoDawgs started but I couldn't find it, I know a few people are interested in grains. So I hope you'll chime in and tell what you're planning for 2023 and what you thought about your past crops.
AgCan Zone 5a/USDA zone 4
temperate marine climate
yearly precip 61 inches/1550 mm


User avatar
Bower
Reactions:
Posts: 4036
Joined: Thu Dec 12, 2019 12:44 pm
Location: Newfoundland, Canada

Re: lets talk about wheat and small grains

#3

Post: # 87290Unread post Bower
Fri Jan 20, 2023 8:12 pm

Yeah, so far I have mostly only shucked a few heads of each by hand. I wanted to at least get a close look at a sample of heads and rate them for insect damage, disease etc. Planning to do some threshing experiments on the rest of my free-threshing crop. Techniques might have to be variable depending on the grain - some are super free threshing with crumbly chaff, others take a bit of force to separate.
The hulled wheats/spelts I haven't touched yet, but I know it's a whole other world of equipment to turn it into food.
Some interesting machines here; https://farmhack.org/tools
https://farmhack.org/tools/impact-dehul ... -separator

Rice is the other hulled grain that you need equipment for, no way around it. A machine that will do both rice and spelt would be pretty nice.
AgCan Zone 5a/USDA zone 4
temperate marine climate
yearly precip 61 inches/1550 mm

User avatar
Cole_Robbie
Reactions:
Posts: 1020
Joined: Tue Dec 10, 2019 11:58 pm

Re: lets talk about wheat and small grains

#4

Post: # 87301Unread post Cole_Robbie
Fri Jan 20, 2023 9:29 pm

Bower wrote: Fri Jan 20, 2023 8:12 pm Yeah, so far I have mostly only shucked a few heads of each by hand. I wanted to at least get a close look at a sample of heads and rate them for insect damage, disease etc. Planning to do some threshing experiments on the rest of my free-threshing crop. Techniques might have to be variable depending on the grain - some are super free threshing with crumbly chaff, others take a bit of force to separate.
The hulled wheats/spelts I haven't touched yet, but I know it's a whole other world of equipment to turn it into food.
Some interesting machines here; https://farmhack.org/tools
https://farmhack.org/tools/impact-dehul ... -separator

Rice is the other hulled grain that you need equipment for, no way around it. A machine that will do both rice and spelt would be pretty nice.
That is a great web site.

The seed cleaning machine I used for hemp seeds is 100+ year old technology. Gravity separation is the principle behind it, and it is surprising similar to a lot of mining equipment. If you bounce material on an angled surface, the most dense parts will fall out below.

User avatar
Bower
Reactions:
Posts: 4036
Joined: Thu Dec 12, 2019 12:44 pm
Location: Newfoundland, Canada

Re: lets talk about wheat and small grains

#5

Post: # 87330Unread post Bower
Sat Jan 21, 2023 10:10 am

I use gravity separation for cleaning all kinds of seeds on a small scale. For the amount in my backyard trials it's fine.
This long shaped bowl has turned out to be the perfect tool for me. Basically you drop your chaffy seed at one end and let the seed roll toward the other end. Some sweeping motions with the hand to push the chaff out one end and the clean seed from the other.
gravitybowl-431.JPG
For this kind of process I try not to create too much fine dust - the less crushing of chaff, the better. Some things that have to be reduced to a fine chaff are better off being winnowed (not to mention outdoors. haha. Too dusty to do in the living room while watching TV.)

For most of the free threshing wheats it's easy to release the seeds just by pulling off the awns first, then stripping down the stem to pop out the rest for a fairly coarse chaff.
emmerhead-blondegrain-955.JPG
Militina seems to require a chaffier process. The heads don't hold together and seeds don't easily pop out when you pull the awns. I tried scrubbing the heads against an upside down collander in a bucket and that worked quite well, but too chaffy for indoors. Buckwheat is another one I started to clean and decided no, this needs outdoor action to lose the dust. And the Rivet is so easy to shuck, the chaff just crumbles and out they roll, but again, this produces too much fine dust for a clean gravity separation.
One thing I've read about grain processing, you need a method to remove anything with Fusarium Head Blight, since that contains mycotoxins. I think some gravity methods are used in industry because the 'tombstone' grains are also lighter than a healthy one. On my scale, you can pick them out (if any) or just exclude any partly white heads as well, which seem to have it. They do also say that any mycotoxin in the process tends to be concentrated in the fine dust. Workers mask not to breathe it. And is a reason for washing and/or soaking grain before milling, to get rid of dust residues.

I also shucked the spelts and other hulled gains before planting, and didn't find it too difficult by hand - Black Hulled Emmer is the worst iirc. Actually need to refresh my memory by taking a crack at my harvest. I got interrupted by work priorities in the fall, and so I have bundles of grain still waiting for my attention!
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
AgCan Zone 5a/USDA zone 4
temperate marine climate
yearly precip 61 inches/1550 mm

User avatar
Cole_Robbie
Reactions:
Posts: 1020
Joined: Tue Dec 10, 2019 11:58 pm

Re: lets talk about wheat and small grains

#6

Post: # 87348Unread post Cole_Robbie
Sat Jan 21, 2023 2:13 pm

The seed cleaning machine also has blower for the chaff. Air separation works by weight instead of density, so it is good to combine the two techniques. I think traditionally wheat was tossed into the air on a windy day so that the chaff blows away.

User avatar
worth1
Reactions:
Posts: 9914
Joined: Tue Dec 10, 2019 12:32 pm
Location: 25 miles southeast of Waterloo Texas

Re: lets talk about wheat and small grains

#7

Post: # 87350Unread post worth1
Sat Jan 21, 2023 2:32 pm

Cole_Robbie wrote: Sat Jan 21, 2023 2:13 pm The seed cleaning machine also has blower for the chaff. Air separation works by weight instead of density, so it is good to combine the two techniques. I think traditionally wheat was tossed into the air on a windy day so that the chaff blows away.
I know you're going to believe it so I won't say you won't believe it.
Yes I have tossed seeds into the air and light breeze to blow away the chaff.
It's called winnowing and has been done for thousands of years.
It's an art form you have to learn like tossing food in a pan.
I have no idea why I have this strange desire to duplicate things from our past but I do.
Worth
25 miles southeast of Liverpool.

There are no dead end jobs, only dead end people.

User avatar
Bower
Reactions:
Posts: 4036
Joined: Thu Dec 12, 2019 12:44 pm
Location: Newfoundland, Canada

Re: lets talk about wheat and small grains

#8

Post: # 87351Unread post Bower
Sat Jan 21, 2023 2:57 pm

Well if anyone has a clue about what they used to do with hulled wheats in the old days, I'd love to know.
Just revisited a head of spelt and hmmm. Indeed there's no apparent action without first removing all the spikes, and then you can pop the grains out of them individually. But it is far more intensive than threshing.
Maybe if I do 40 head I'll get some inspiration as to how to do this.....

I'm not sure what the advantage of hulls may be, if any.
I thought perhaps rabbits would be less interested, but in fact the hares attacked a small mixed patch of black hulled emmer and rivet at the time they were flowering, and they heartily consumed both grains with no preference. Maybe from late season predators it is a plus, but hey, if it's eaten on the July full moon there's not really a late season to worry about...
AgCan Zone 5a/USDA zone 4
temperate marine climate
yearly precip 61 inches/1550 mm

User avatar
worth1
Reactions:
Posts: 9914
Joined: Tue Dec 10, 2019 12:32 pm
Location: 25 miles southeast of Waterloo Texas

Re: lets talk about wheat and small grains

#9

Post: # 87357Unread post worth1
Sat Jan 21, 2023 3:52 pm

They threshed them to get the seeds out.
Its as you all know called the threshing floor.
And the origen of the term give someone a good threshing.
After the threshing the grain was winnowed and stored in the usual manner of some sort of vermin proof structure.
These ancient threshing floors can be seen and visited to this day.
The original wheat shattered meaning it expelled the seeds on it's own.
By people selecting the seeds that didn't shatter or stayed on the head they inadvertently selected a genetic anomaly that allowed the wheat to be harvested.
They then in turn grew this wheat to have a whole crop they could harvest.
Worth
25 miles southeast of Liverpool.

There are no dead end jobs, only dead end people.

User avatar
Bower
Reactions:
Posts: 4036
Joined: Thu Dec 12, 2019 12:44 pm
Location: Newfoundland, Canada

Re: lets talk about wheat and small grains

#10

Post: # 87361Unread post Bower
Sat Jan 21, 2023 4:54 pm

I found a homemade dehuller that is really simple - a modified grain grinder (similar to the one you used for the corn @worth1. He glued two rubber surfaces to what I guess is the grinding plates? IDK the terms. Then by choosing the right distance between them, the rubber surfaces peel off the hulls, and the result can be winnowed.


And here is a pdf with diagram showing how to make a dehuller with a simple hand mill. This version has only one rubber surface, and uses steel, stone or other type surface on the facing plate.
https://www.savingourseeds.org/pdf/grain_dehuller.pdf
AgCan Zone 5a/USDA zone 4
temperate marine climate
yearly precip 61 inches/1550 mm

User avatar
worth1
Reactions:
Posts: 9914
Joined: Tue Dec 10, 2019 12:32 pm
Location: 25 miles southeast of Waterloo Texas

Re: lets talk about wheat and small grains

#11

Post: # 87362Unread post worth1
Sat Jan 21, 2023 5:12 pm

@Bower
Better to dress in a loincloth and stomp around on the threshing floor while giving homage to the gods and goddesses of your choice.
In this case Ra the god of the sun and the Godess of rain Tetnut. :lol:
Worth
25 miles southeast of Liverpool.

There are no dead end jobs, only dead end people.

Uncle_Feist
Reactions:
Posts: 289
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2021 6:19 pm

Re: lets talk about wheat and small grains

#12

Post: # 87367Unread post Uncle_Feist
Sat Jan 21, 2023 6:28 pm

I thresh my dry beans by putting em in a sheet, drawing the corners to keep the mass confined and whipping the crap of em with a limber rod while rotating the contained mass with every few lashes. I then open the sheet, grab and discard the empty hulls from the top of the seeds, then winnow away the fine chaff that remains. You have to thresh on a sunny day after the pods are thoroughly dried.

User avatar
Cole_Robbie
Reactions:
Posts: 1020
Joined: Tue Dec 10, 2019 11:58 pm

Re: lets talk about wheat and small grains

#13

Post: # 87371Unread post Cole_Robbie
Sat Jan 21, 2023 9:34 pm

Silicone basting brushes are a great invention. I have mounted them on a drill bit and used the drill to brush the fan leaves off dried hemp. Idk much about wheat, but the drill mounted spinning brush idea might be useful in some regard.

User avatar
Tormato
Reactions:
Posts: 2872
Joined: Thu Dec 12, 2019 3:14 pm

Re: lets talk about wheat and small grains

#14

Post: # 87540Unread post Tormato
Tue Jan 24, 2023 11:22 am

What's there to talk about?

I once grew a small patch of Emmer wheat, which did fine.

Other than that, I have eikorn, hulless barley, spelt (2010!), kamut, hard red winter wheat, farrow (pearled, so unknown if it will germinate), "red" rice, forbidden "black" rice, Koshihikari rice (2015!, a free sample), Duborskian upland rice, Loto upland rice, Hayayuki upland rice, M-101 upland rice, Zerawchanica upland rice, and I currently have lost the winter wheat I was supposed to plant last fall. Does popping sorghum count?

Most seed packs have been collecting dust for 1 to 2 years. :(

What's there to talk about?

User avatar
Bower
Reactions:
Posts: 4036
Joined: Thu Dec 12, 2019 12:44 pm
Location: Newfoundland, Canada

Re: lets talk about wheat and small grains

#15

Post: # 87681Unread post Bower
Thu Jan 26, 2023 2:20 pm

Tormato wrote: Tue Jan 24, 2023 11:22 am What's there to talk about?

I once grew a small patch of Emmer wheat, which did fine.

Other than that, I have eikorn, hulless barley, spelt (2010!), kamut, hard red winter wheat, farrow (pearled, so unknown if it will germinate), "red" rice, forbidden "black" rice, Koshihikari rice (2015!, a free sample), Duborskian upland rice, Loto upland rice, Hayayuki upland rice, M-101 upland rice, Zerawchanica upland rice, and I currently have lost the winter wheat I was supposed to plant last fall. Does popping sorghum count?

Most seed packs have been collecting dust for 1 to 2 years. :(

What's there to talk about?
I think Cole Robbie started in the right place. There are some hurdles to getting use value out of small grains, especially rice or spelt or hulled anything else. You need some gear to thresh, dehull, clean, grind the stuff before you can tell everyone how delicious and so worth it, it was! :)

There are some other good reasons to grow grain though.
1) Just as a rotation for other crops, including as a winter cover crop to prevent erosion. Why not.
Just recently I read that grass family small grains are recommended as a rotation for people with RKN. Winter wheat or rye was mentioned to plant in alternate years to the more susceptible crops, since these grains are not hosts of RKN.

2) Chicken feed. Animal feed. There was an article in my local news this morning where a farmer was explaining, our lack of local grain to feed animals is preventing the farmers from supplying more local beef and lamb. The farm here tried chickens and that was really expensive. So looking for something handy and productive to throw into a rotation for feed, is not a bad thought.
When it comes to hulled wheat, hulled oats, barley etc I'm pretty sure most of it can be fed to horse or cattle or even chickens without threshing.

Personally I'm thinking to build a little thresher along these lines:
foot powered rice thresher, very nice

this wheat thresher is similar - drum with spikes/flails

And then find a solution to the dehuller question. Quite a few DIY rice hullers on YouTube, there are several hacks of power tools that will do it.

A friend of mine here is interested in rice. I don't really have the space or motivation to grow something else besides tomatoes that I need to start indoors under lights, but she's got gear and a new site near a river. I bet she would grow out those dusty seed packets. I was actually thinking to buy her a cool early rice landrace I saw at EFN.
She'll have no trouble to get a dehuller built, as the men in her family are crazy good at making stuff that works.
AgCan Zone 5a/USDA zone 4
temperate marine climate
yearly precip 61 inches/1550 mm

User avatar
Tormato
Reactions:
Posts: 2872
Joined: Thu Dec 12, 2019 3:14 pm

Re: lets talk about wheat and small grains

#16

Post: # 87686Unread post Tormato
Thu Jan 26, 2023 5:21 pm

I just received my Wild Garden Seed catalog. There's a story about a winnowing machine and its developer. A link to the machine can be found at...

http://www.luterra.com

Post Reply

Return to “Other Vegetables/Plant Identification”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests