Letter Re: Winter Wheat Harvest Season

Thursday, Jul 14, 2011

July is the time of year that Winter Wheat is harvested, priced, and sold.

You can call an area “Ag service” farm and seed center, and ask for a price to buy Winter Wheat by the bushel.  Look them up in the phone book, or ask a farmer.

The Ag service may buy it locally from a farmer for you, and clean it and bag it.  Or they will buy it cleaned and bagged from their seed wholesaler.  You will receive it ready to store or grind.

If they ask why you want 25-50 bushels of wheat, you can tell them you want to plant it, or you want to bake with it, or feed the squirrels.  They won’t really care.  (Don’t be intimidated because you’re not a farmer.  They are merchants looking for customers, and you’re a customer!) 

Before you order, check with any prepping friends who might want to go in on an order with you.

A bushel contains 60 pounds of wheat, and when you buy it at about $9 per bushel, you’re only paying 15 cents a pound.  Since a pound of wheat has about one day’s worth of calories (around 1,750), you’re buying long-storing (25+ years) calories very cheaply.

I put my wheat (now 24,000 pounds) in 55 gallon drums (now 60) .  Figure 400 lbs. per drum.  (I saved all the original bushel bags, in case some day I need to dispense my grain in large quantities, or move it.)

I buy barrels on Craigslist for $10.  I’ve used both plastic and metal barrels, but I prefer the metal for food, plastic for water.  I use drum liners from www.usplastic.com  (55 Gallon LDPE Drum Liner 37" x 40" x 4 Mil).  That is probably overkill with the sealed barrels, but it’s just $3 a liner. 

I drive out the oxygen with 1 pound of dry ice (set on 2-3 paper towels) per barrel.  I let it sublimate (melt) for a day before I seal up the barrel. 

If you put boards across the top of the barrels, you can stack them safely.  I have all my barrels two-high.  That’s still less than 6 ft high.  Then I put on more boards, and fill the 3rd level with 6-gallon buckets. 

Keep the drums in a cool dark place, like a basement.  Put wood or cardboard between the metal or plastic, and the cement floor, to prevent rusting or leaching of chemicals.  Put the drums along the basement wall, and hang a curtain/sheet in front for secrecy, and to keep them even cooler.

If you miss the Winter Wheat harvest, put in an order for Spring Wheat, which will price and be available this fall.  Remember, Hard Red or White are what you want for long term storage.

Also consider storing some Rye.  (Bushels of Rye are 56 pounds.) It’s cheaper per pound, has different nutrients, and works well baked on its own, or mixed 25% with wheat before grinding.

If available, you can also store Triticale (wheat/rye hybrid), Durum Wheat, Buckwheat, Amaranth, Teff, Kamut, Quinoa, Spelt, Sorghum etc.  Variety is fun and healthy.  Oats also store well.

Stop buying 40 pound buckets of wheat for $50-$75 each.  For that money, you can buy 400 pounds (one barrel’s worth) directly.  You’ll know what you’ve got, and how it was stored. 

And at the same time you’ll build an important local relationship that may pay big food dividends if TSHTF. - Scott in Wisconsin


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