Once your seedbed is prepared for the season, planting your crop can be done in many ways: by using a grain drill, broadcasting with a manure spreader, or by using a corn planter adjusted for small grains. See Planting Grains for more details. Since most grain crops are inter-seeded for weed control, little cultivation is required. However, many growers do use tine weeder attachments or rotary cultivators to knock down weeds early in the season.
One of the biggest hurdles facing northeast small grains growers is a lack of infrastructure for harvesting and processing grains. However, as demand increases, the resources and opportunities for grain growers do too. Many growers are finding that the consumer demand for their locally-grown grains has made purchasing some extra equipment well worth the investment. Others have found creative ways to market their grains directly to consumers, or to sell them to processors as whole grains.
Check back soon for more information on where to find the equipment you might need to get started. Keep in mind that many growers suggest searching auctions or Internet sites for good deals, or asking friends, family, neighbors, and antique buffs what equipment they might have stored in an old barn. As George Wright of Metcalfe, Ontario says, “If you’re mechanically-inclined, it doesn’t have to cost a lot!”
Below, Hank Duncan takes apart a stone mill and explains its workings and maintenance to NGGA members in March 2011. Duncan, a millwright, travels all over the country “dressing” stone mills to increase their efficiency.