22 hours ago
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Book Review: Small scale grain raising by Gene Logsdon
One of the big challenges I've got in my farming operation is the cost of feed, and the second is my inexperience in growing things that I might feed to my animals. There aren't any farms growing any grains that are nearby that I've found. I did see some barley growing last year, but I haven't been able to find that guy to ask him about it.
This book has been particularly helpful in describing the planting, harvesting and uses of various types of grain. Corn, Sorghum, Wheat, Oats, Dry Beans Rye and Barley, buckwheat and millet, Rice and Legumes are all included, as well as a chapter on animal feeds using grains.
He does a good job of describing the amount of space and the yield expected for that amount of space, the planting conditions required and the cultivation that works best.
All of the plantings described are in 1 acre or smaller plots -- he breaks it down into a single row of sorghum, for instance, and he describes how you harvest, process and store it as well.
For me, this approach works really well. I like to experiment, and I'll probably pick three or four different types of grain to plant this year as test crops. If a particular choice works out, I'll expand, if not, I'm not out much time and money.
He's stated that a quarter acre will provide the majority of the calories needed for a years (human) diet, and that an acre of corn could fill out the grain requirements for one pig, one milk cow, one beef steer and thirty chickens.
Which sounds mighty good to me when I look at my feed bill.