Grain Fields

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Barley and Wheat will be planted fall 2012 and spring 2013.
These are just descriptions of the grain itself!  Descriptions of our growing, baking, malting and brewing to follow soon!

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Jet Barley

Image and Information from Sustainable Seed Co:

Originated in Ethiopia.  Protein level 16.31  (That is huge!  Most wheats only obtain 12-13% protein and many corn varieties les than that!)

Spring planted, hulless, 2 rowed barley.  Logged at the USDA seed bank in 1920.  Selected from a Landrace  that  was a six-row hulless white and black seeded variety.

Jet Barley performs extremely well here with little or no water in the spring.  This variety is know to have excellent smut resistance.  In fact, because I go through every plant to grade it during harvest (selecting for # of stools and size…at least till I’m happy with the seed line) I touched probably over 5,000 plants easy.  Out of that, only 8 had any signs of smut.

Of the two years I’ve grown it I’ve had problems with lodging (falling over) both times, but perhaps the soil was too rich. This year there seems to be no problem and the soil was pretty nutrient poor.  The lesson with grains is to find the happy medium when adding organic fertilizer or better yet grow a fava crop prior to planting.  Too much fertilizer and you will get lodging.  Too little and you will not get proper development.

Jet Barley has a rich nutty flavor and we frequently use it in soups.  When I have more this year I will play with different styles of baked goods.  Two-row barley is traditionally used in English ale style beers.  Excellent for livestock once threshed unless of course you are feeding to chickens.  In that case we throw the whole shock to them.  Barley straw is even used as an algicide in ponds and lakes.  We also use the straw in animal bedding and later in the compost pile adding to our wonderful organics.

Drought tolerant and also tolerant of saline soils.  This is a huge advantage as water shortages and changing weather patterns continue to reshape the way we try to grow food now. 

Spring planted.  Needs cool weather, but cannot withstand hard freezes.

Yield  This year (2010) we got 1 pound per 23 sq ft or about 2,100#s  per acre.

Bere Barley

Image and Information from Sustainable Seed Co:

Bere Island is north of Britain and prior to the 20th century, this barley was widely grown in this area. Characteristics which suit it to this area include a rapid growth rate and a reputed tolerance to acidic soils.

In most areas, however, Bere was progressively replaced by higher yielding modern varieties and by the 1990s only about 10 ha were still in cultivation – mostly in Orkney, Sutherland and Shetland. Survival in Orkney has been linked closely to a local Mill, which still produces Bere flour, which is mainly used locally in a range of food products (bannocks, bread and biscuits).

Analyses of Bere flour has shown it to be a source of magnesium, zinc and iodine and to contain significant amounts of folate, thiamine and pantothenic acid. It is therefore thought to have potential as a functional food (Theobald et al., 2006) and the Agronomy Institute is investigating new bakery markets for Bere flour.

Historical accounts show that Bere was previously used widely for producing malt which would have been used for making both beer and whisky. Information & Photo Source: Agronomy Institute, Orkney College

Robust Barley

Image and Information from Sustainable Seed Co

Robust is a high yielding, six-rowed barley.

Robust is characterized by good kernel plumpness and good lodging resistance.  It is used for malting, feed or can be pearled.

Malting characteristics:  Robust barley Lends wort, a deep reddish hue when used at 5% of the grist or more. Can be especially useful as a color enhancer for low-alcohol, non-alcohol, and light beers. Aromatic Odor of mash and rate of filtration is normal.

Can be spring or summer planted.  Robust sow rate is 2 lbs per 1,000 sq. ft.  Aprox. 14,200 seeds per pound.





Rhode Wheat

Image and Information from Sustainable Seed Co:

USDA says about Rohde wheat.…”Soft white winter club wheat. Semi-dwarf with strong, yellow straw. Spike awned, clavate, short, compact and laterally compressed. Spike 4-5cm. Awns 4-6cm. Glumes glabrous, bronze. Kernels small, white, soft, laterally compressed with small, short brush and narrow, shallow crease. Adapted to both dryland and irrigated conditions. Little or no lodging. Resistance to stripe rust. Moderately resistant to Cephalosporium stripe and common bunt. Moderately susceptible to leaf rust, powdery mildew & Septoria. Susceptible to strawbreaker footrot. Excellent yield potential. Acceptable milling and baking attributes.”


Soft Whtie Winter wheat

Adapted to the Pacific Northwest

Average plant height is 4′

Seed Head length is 3″-4″

Average of 6-7 seed heads per plant

Our field test noted 20-30% lodging unlike the USDA.  We also noted that the dry seed heads shatter easily.  Best to harvest a bit early to avoid shattering.

 Tres Wheat

Image and Information from Sustainable Seed Co:

Developed cooperatively in 1984 by the USDA-ARS and Washington State University.

Soft white club winter wheat.


Average seed head size is 1.5″-2″

Average plant height is 28″

No lodging noted

Average of 6 seed heads per plant

Threshes easily

Don’t let the deceptive size of the seed head fool you.  Very productive with huge white grains that are densely packed.   Club wheats typically yield much more per acre than other wheats.

Susceptible to leaf rust and hessian fly.

Resistance to common bunt and stripe rust.

Plainsman V  Wheat

Image and Information from Sustainable Seed Co:

Released in 1976 by Seed Research Assoc.

Developed by Betty and Ken Goertzen, wheat breeders of Kansas City.

Very Early, 136 days after Jan. 1st.

High yielding

Semi dwarf less than 3 foot

0% lodging typical

Large hard red seeds with genetically high protein.

Protein levels 13.7-22%

10-15 seed heads typical per plant

Seed head length is an avg. of 3.5″

Spike is awned, fusiform, lax with brown chaff.

Glumes are brown and leathery.

Awns are brown.   Three seed per spiklet under favorable conditions.

0% pest or disease noted in 2012 grow outs.

Susceptible to bunt.

Resistant to stem rust, leaf rust and soil borne mosaic.

History:  Still the biggest problem with wheat today is getting protein levels over 10% and wheat breeders Ken and Betty Goertzen did that with Plainsman in 1973.  Plainsman V wasn’t released to the public until 1976 when the variety was finally patented.  This was a HUGE breakthrough to develop a high yielding AND high protein wheat.  Plainsman has such high protein and gluten in many cases it can not be used to make bread at 100% of the flour.   It is actually used to add to other wheat flours that are too low in protein.  Plainsman V is still used today as a breeding parent for high protein wheat.


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