Spelt … This Small Farmer’s Friend
September 28, 2012, 1:12 pm
Filed under: September 2012

Speltz popping up, (evening photo)

                                            September 28, 2012

     Spelt also known as speltz, is one of my most favored crops. It fills our farms needs nicely. The grain, fed whole, right off the combine, makes wonderful horse feed. The draft horses get all they need from this grain, salt and mineral and our good hay.

     The rest of the ripened plant makes some of the nicest straw I have ever used. It is absorbent and warm. The pigs snuggle underneath and spend lots of cold days, warm and content. It is easy to fork out of a stall and makes great bedding for the other animals too.

     I also like it because of the time it gets planted and harvested. The time for planting is right now. The time comes right before the corn harvest following late summer. The harvest comes sometime between the 4th of July and the middle of that month. I am not struggling in the mud for planting or harvesting.

     This crop mixes well in our farm plan. In spring when oats need to be planted, I am finishing up with the maple syrup season, plowing for other spring crops or scrambling to be ready for the baby lambs. When it’s time to plant speltz, the workload is much less.

     Harvesting speltz and making the straw comes at the end of first cutting hay. The tools are out and ready to be used. There is usually no mud in mid-July, so that is a blessing too. The speltz combine well in the hot dry July weather. The straw dries quickly and is ready for baling just a few days after the grain has been combined.

     The photo above shows this years crop of speltz coming up out of the ground. The nice green color stays on the speltz much of the winter. That gives a little highlight in mid-winter when the landscape is void of  color and speaks of the promise of spring.

     Old timers say that the speltz don’t yield as good as oats. All I know is that I get enough every year to feed my horses until the following year. The straw gets us through the winter too. I usually plant 3 to 5 acres and have plenty for our needs.

     I would say that having “enough” is just right. It is just one more reason why spelt is this small farmer’s friend.

2 Comments so far
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I live on a farm in Indiana where we also grow some spelt and feed it to our horses, and they are all slick and fat! Friends are beginning to notice and want to buy spelt from us, but I can find no info on price for spelt as a feed grain. Do you sell any and/or know how to price it. Closest I can come is for oats. We’d appreciate any input you can give. Thanks, Gail Reed

Comment by Gail Reed

Gail, it is like you say, the price floats about where oats trades. I usually don’t have enough to sell any, but when I do, I have no trouble finding buyers. This year the feed prices are high, but so is fuel and seed. It all works out I guess, but small farmers will soon have a niche again … as long as the big seed companies leave us alone and government programs let supply and demand run the commodity market… I think these would be good things! It is safe to say that we have a long way to go :o)

Comment by ricelandmeadows

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