Explore Small-scale Grain Production from Pre-planting to Post-harvest

GrainFieldSmall-Scale Organic Grain Production (BF 140)

Is it right for you?

an online course through the Northeast Beginning Farmer Project
Tues. January 19 – February 23, 2016, with webinars each Tuesday evening from 7:00-8:30pm
This course is intended to make grain production more accessible for small-scale farmers. Information from pre-planting to post-harvest will help aspiring grain growers determine the feasibility and profitability of integrating a grain enterprise into the farm. The course focuses on food-grade and distilling/malting markets, with backup markets for feed-grade grain. Learn what to grow, and how to grow, store and market organic grain. Topics include crop growth cycles and crop rotation, equipment and storage, post-harvest quality, cleaning and markets, and financial considerations. This course will enable the aspiring grain farmer to carefully weigh the challenges and rewards of small-scale grain production before investing time, energy and resources.
This course is for anyone who is interested in grain production but doesn’t know where to start: from the aspiring farmer to the experienced farmer considering the integration of a new grain enterprise. Because crop selection and production practices vary by region and climate, this course targets farmers in the Northeast. Farmers outside of the region are welcome to register but should do so knowing that some of the information presented may not be relevant.
By the end of this course you will:

  • Understand the agronomic characteristics of common grain crops and evaluate the suitability of specific crops for your operation.
  • Recognize the interactions of cover cropping and crop rotation.
  • Identify scale-appropriate equipment and applications.
  • Describe the full-season tasks involved in grain farming—from pre-planting to post-harvest.
  • Employ harvest, storage and market strategies to maximize quality and profitability.
  • Understand the financial aspects of small-scale grain production and develop a basic enterprise budget.

Kat Loeck is an organic grain farmer in Seneca County, New York.
Brian Caldwell is a researcher in Cornell’s Dept of Crop and Soil Sciences and a long-time organic farmer.

Avatar of Tara Hammonds

Tara Hammonds

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