Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The ranch through time: Every last grain

Auguring grain

We shipped some barley yesterday and augured it out of the bins and into the waiting truck. Here Beverly works during a harvest of days since passed to sweep every last kernel from the "Old Blue" truck into the hopper where it is augured up and into the bins for storage until shipping day.

Why such dedication to get every last grain of grain? Well, out here we grow several different varieties of small grains including wheat, barley and oats and we use the same equipment for each. During harvest, the grain is augured from the combine to a truck then augured from the truck to the bins for storage. Since we do not fan or clean any of the grain before it goes to the bins it is said to be "field run" or "in the dirt".

When we sell the grain a purity test it performed. These tests measure the percentage of broken and small seeds as well as dirt and chaff. The test also looks for moisture content, weed seeds and off variety grains. The percentage of purity can influence the price the farmer ends up getting for his grain. Or if the grain does not meet purity standards or contains noxious weeds, the delivery can be refused and the grower has to pay to have it cleaned or sell elsewhere for animal feed. Keeping clean fields and equipment not only saves time and money, it is a responsible thing for a steward of the land to do.

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