- Agronomic: buckwheat
- Crop Production: double cropping, food product quality/safety, no-till
- Farm Business Management: budgets/cost and returns, farm-to-institution
- Production Systems: transitioning to organic
- Soil Management: soil quality/health
- Sustainable Communities: local and regional food systems, sustainability measures
With record-high costs on key inputs like fertilizer, supply chain issues causing delays, and uncertain market conditions – local grain farmers are looking to find a reliable double-crop that can positively impact soil conditions, increase profitability on idle or poor conditioned acreage, and not strain labor resources on the farm.
At the same time, The Birkett Mills is a specialty grain milling company, based in Penn Yan, NY, that continues to see increased demand from wholesale and retail customers across North America, offering a consistent marketplace for growers to market their grain.
The opportunity is with no-till buckwheat double cropping after wheat, local growers could see a variety of positive benefits, including: increasing revenue by capitalizing on idle acreage, increased yield on future crops planted after buckwheat, and healthier, more fertile soil with increased resistance to climate change.
In fact, we anticipate that if this experiment is successful that local growers could generate revenues of $350-$500 per acre on land that typically is idle or not used, and this is before realizing any benefit to future yields on crops that follow buckwheat.
Buckwheat requires no pesticides and little fertilizer, improves soil conditions for future crops, thrives in difficult weather, and is a short season cash crop that will local growers to maximize profitability on idle acreage.
Project objectives from proposal:
The benefits of buckwheat to the soil are obvious, but today's modern grower needs to know that buckwheat can pack a bigger punch with more impact to both acreage and revenues. This project seeks to understand the environmental, sustainability, and financial viability of double-cropping no-till buckwheat after wheat harvest.
We want to answer the following questions:
- What planting dates produce a viable buckwheat yield?
- Which planting dates provide an optimal amount of vegetative growth?
- Which planting dates allow the grain to mature enough for harvest before frost?
- Which planting dates result in acceptable seed fill (test weight)?
- How much contamination from the prior grain ends up in the buckwheat (which must be gluten-free)?
- Can buckwheat growers double-crop after wheat, thus taking advantage of normally idle acreage and increasing revenues
- How are yields impacted if using no-till practices?
- Can buckwheat improve soil conditions for future crops, thus increasing yields and raising revenues for growers on those crops?