|FAQs: YOUR QUESTIONS,
Q. Will the wheat be genetically modified?
A. At this time, there is no genetically modified wheat on the market.
Monstanto was gunning to develop GMO wheat up until about 2004, when
they stopped due to consumer distaste for GMOs and protests from farmers,
based on their experience with other GMO crops like corn and soybeans.
Plus, the wheat gene is hexaploid, a more complex genetic structure
than is found in corn or soy, which apparently makes developing a GMO wheat
crop a little more complicated.
their GMO wheat efforts last year and several other ag / chemical companies
(Dow, Syngenta, DuPont, Limagrain) are researching it as well; its release
is seen as inevitable within the next few years.
Q. Why dont you buy organic wheat from a small farmer?
A. As much as I would love to, it would undercut one of the points of this
project, which is to remove an ever-so-small quantity of wheat from the commodity
ag / financial system and transform it into something that provides real
Q. What are the plans for documenting this project?
A. This project is pretty non-material and process-based, so documentation
is not the focus (it's not a documentary). Still, quite a bit of
documentation will be needed to communicate the process and what we all learn
during the project; this will likely take many forms (photos, writing, video
and sound recording).
Q. How do I get involved?
A. See here. We would love your (yes,
your) help and participation!
STATS AND NUMBERS
Q. How big is 1000 bushels of wheat?
A. 1 bushel is 1.2417 cubic feet, so 1000 bushels = about 1,242 cubic feet.
This would be roughly 10 x 10 x 12 feet - about the size of a small room,
packed floor to ceiling.
Q. How much does 1000 bushels of wheat weigh?
A. A bushel of wheat weighs about 60 pounds, so that would be 60,000 pounds
(30 tons) for the whole pile.
Q. How much space is needed to grow the wheat?
A. The seed rate or how thickly you sow the seed depends quite
a bit on the variety and the growing conditions, but about 1 1/4 and 1 3/4
bushels (74 103 pounds) per acre, based on other sources Ive
seen and people Ive talked to.
Q. How much wheat will you grow, and how much will that yield?
A. I won't be growing much of the wheat, probably just a few acres total,
and most of that will be as a cover crop. As to yield, wouldn't every
farmer would love to be able to know that ahead of time...! Gene Logsdon
uses 40 bu/acre as an estimate, and its a nicely conservative number
in line with historical data. Since 2000, wheat yields in Illinois have ranged
between 31 and 94 bushels per acre.
Q. How much land does it take to grow smaller amounts of wheat?
A. In Gene Logsdon's book Small Scale Grain Raising, he claims that
a 109' x 10' plot will grow enough for a family of four for a year. The Organic
Consumers Association says that a 10' x 10' plot will yield 10-25 loaves
Q. How much will the wheat cost?
A. Costs will depend on the price the day I buy it. Wheat typically
hovers between $3 and $6 per bushel, but over the past few years there have
been extreme price fluctuations from time to time.
Q. How much flour will you get from a bushel of wheat?
A. 42 pounds of white flour, 60 pounds of whole wheat (with the white flour
they throw out all the nutritious stuff to give it a finer taste and texture).
My 1000 bushels made about 20 tons.
Q. How many loaves of bread does 20 tons make?
A. Approximately 40,000, given a pound of flour (around 3 cups) per loaf.