Monday, August 23, 2010

Harvest update

We are almost done with all the combine work. We've finished the hard red and soft white wheat, and most of the cayuse oats. We have about 9-11 acres of flax left to do, and all of the naked oats. By the end of this week all the standing grain will have been thrashed. The beans, sunflowers, and walnuts still have a little ways to go before they are ready to harvest. The yelloweye beans looked pretty bad not too long ago, and they still don't look great, but we looked at them closely today and saw lots of pods. There is a photo of a yelloweye with pods, as well as a photo of the yelloweyes next to the pintos. What was interesting about that was the pintos failed completely in that part of the field, while the yelloweyes did not. The pintos were a total failure actually. It seemed that the yelloweyes did better in areas where the pintos just stopped growing. The sunflowers are ripening at vastly different rates. We will have to be harvesting them continually for weeks once the most mature ones are ready. Some flowers have still not opened at all, while others are starting to drop their petals already. In a laughably inept effort at deterring birds, I have placed mylar "scare tape" on tall T-posts around the perimeter of the field. I have also made a scarecrow that I am putting up today. Hopefully that will help some in keeping out the birds. I also included photos of the uncleaned flax and red wheat.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The recent wheat price increase...A case for buying local!

I would like to say a few things about the recent furor over rising wheat prices on the commodity market. As many of you may know, Russia suffered a severe drought this year and is reporting a huge crop loss in their wheat harvest. As the third largest wheat producing country on earth, this has a profound effect on the global wheat market. There has been a huge jump in wheat acreage planted in the Willamette Valley this past year due to very low prices on grass seed. I'm sure there are plenty of happy farmers in the valley who will be making another dollar or two per bushel on their wheat crop. The people who are REALLY making the money in this situation are the speculators. Farmers make slightly more, and the consumer pays slightly more, but the traders make MUCH more. This rise in wheat prices is for conventional wheat only, but it may have something of a trickle-down effect on the local organic grain market. There have been articles written in the past week or two that say consumers will feel the pinch at the grocery store through higher bread and meat prices. (Higher meat prices because higher feed grain prices affect meat prices). One of the goals of our farm and the Southern Willamette Valley Bean and Grain Project is greater food security and stability in the valley. We are capable of producing a huge amount of food for the local market, but the bulk of the grain grown in the valley is exported, and the vast majority of the food consumed in the valley is imported. If you want to insulate yourself from the fluctuations in the world market to a greater degree, then buy food produced by local farmers! Help us build the local food system!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Harvesting soft white winter wheat

This week we started harvesting the soft white winter wheat, yamhill variety. We have approximately 140 acres of it this year. Most of it was planted in October and November, but one field got planted in mid-December, and is looking much weaker as a result. The yield in the fields close to our buildings have been very good so far. It has been a bit stop-and-go while we wait for the moisture content to get down to around 12-12.5 percent. This usually means we can't start combining until about 1-2 pm.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Chef/Baker farm tour a BIG success! Thank you!

The chef/baker farm tour of Stalford's, A2R, and Hunton's farms yesterday was a huge success. We'd like to thank Allison for organizing the event, the Bean and Grain Project for dreaming it up, and all the chefs and bakers who came out with an interest in seeing where some of their ingredients come from! We look forward to the public farm tours later this month. I'm sure there will be a BIG turnout!