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Saving the Wheat

I didn't know whether to call this blog post "Saving the Wheat" or "More Adventures in Haylofting." Why? Because of what happened to our beautiful stand of winter wheat.

One of our two small stands of winter wheat.

A mix of winter wheat, crimson clover, and vetch.

It was doing wonderfully until we got a series of heavy rains which flattened it. Last year some of our wheat lodged and while the kernels still dried, they also mildewed. With more thunderstorms on the way we decided to cut it. The kernels were still immature; in the milk stage with soft berries that squeeze out milk-like moisture. Because of that we decided to use it for hay.

Vetch is hard to cut with the scythe, so Dan used the sickle mower instead. We let it dry for two days and then with rain due again we raked it up. It amounted to two trailer loads, which were stored in the carport until the next round of rain was over. Then we had to figure out how to get it into the hayloft. We've somewhat "perfected" (I use that term loosely!) getting large round bales up there, but loose hay is another matter. This is what Dan came up with.

Extension ladder, plywood, and rope.

The tarp is one Dan used as a flat-bed driver.
It's much heavier than retail consumer tarps
and has d-rings as well as grommets.

Tarp tied to the plywood & sides bungeed together.

It was fairly easy to pull up then.

Because it wasn't fully cured, the concern was mold and the possibility of combustion from high heat decomposition within the piles of hay. In Salad Bar Beef, Joel Salatin mentions salting hay, so that's what I did.

I sprinkled a handful over each layer.

Spread out in the hayloft to finish drying.

So far this is working very well. I'm still turning it twice a day and am amazed at how quickly it's drying out. While it's a disappointment to lose the wheat for our consumption, this is really my favorite way to feed grain to goats. It's truly whole (plant) wheat. If SHTF and I can't buy wheat for flour this winter, we'll eat cornbread!

Meowy's favorite use for hay.

Weather is just one of those things we can't control! But a loss somewhere can be a gain somewhere else. All in all - no complaints.


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