Growing Heritage Grains in Texas

Asked June 4, 2014, 7:24 PM EDT

I live in the Blackland Prairie region of Texas and am interested in growing some heritage wheat, including "Turkey Red," "Red Fife," and spelt, as well as rye and oats, all for human consumption (and in particular, bread making), and all without the use of chemicals. I'd like to find more information on growing these grains in Texas, and I'm wondering if you have any. Here are some of my questions:

- What are the required growing conditions for these grains?
- Do you know of any farmers currently growing these grains in Texas, and could I get their contact information?
- Can you direct me to any publications on trials with these grains that have taken place in Texas or in a similar growing region?
- What kinds of problems might one encounter in growing these grains, for example, pests or diseases?

Thank you for your time and help!

McLennan County Texas

3 Responses

I dont know of anyone in this area growing wheat as you refer to it in this area. Much of our wheat grown locally is hard red winter wheat and some soft wheat of which much of it is used for human consumption. In fact we normally have approximately 40,000 acres of wheat grown in McLennan County. These wheat fields are produced by utilizing seed treatments to protect the seed from fungal disease and insect pressure. There are many fungal diseases such as septoria, glume blotch, stripe rust, etc that all negatively affect wheat yield. Each year our wheat crops are victims to constant insect pressure from green bugs, aphids, grasshoppers, armyworms and many more insects. All of these also negatively affect wheat yield.

I conduct result demonstrations with hard red winter wheat varieties, soft wheat varieties and oats each year. The growing season is from mid November to Mid June. There are multiple sources of variety trials such as
If you click on the "small grains" website it list multiple pages that can answer some of your questions.

Farmers could not afford to grow grain in this part of Texas without the use of herbicides, fertilizer, fungicide, insecticide, etc. Their yield/production would be so low they would not be able to be in business.

We do not grow "rye" in this area. We do have ryegrass which is different and is used for livestock grazing.

Thank you for your quick and thorough response to my questions.

Susan Adkins