“Feed” Grains, Anyone?

22 11 2008

Some members of our church have been asking about purchasing “feed” grains from local mills. These are grains that are sold as animal feed, and need to be “cleaned” to some extent, which apparently means separating out chaff, rocks, bugs, etc. Someone also said that they need to be frozen for a couple of weeks to kill the weevil eggs. Here’s what one local mill is charging for these:

wheat soft red $15.25 /50lb (no hard wheats)
rolled oats $19.65 /50lb
race horse oats $17.75 whole oats, triple cleaned
steam rolled barley $.35/lb
flax (didn’t get a price)
corn $8 /50lb
rye: $.36/lb

So our questions are:

    Do these prices make “cleaning” them worth it?
    If not, should we be looking for better prices?
    Are there any other caveats we should know about “feed’ grains?
    Is there a way to estimate the weight differential – for example if you clean all the garbage out of a pound of it, do you end up with 50% or 99% of the original weight? I would be interested in comparing the costs after adjusting for that.
    Do the food-grade grains not have the weevil eggs issue? (And how do they do that?) I’ve never done that with any grains that I’ve stored.

Thanks for any help you can provide!

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3 responses

22 11 2008
Boyd

The prices listed are all a little cheaper than the prices I have on hand from a couple of bulk food catalogues. The one exception is the corn – 50# of corn is just a little less than a bushel and it would seem as if you should be able to get a bushel of corn a little cheaper than that.

I’ve bought grains directly from the farm before and they are dirtier than what I have bought from food places. I think products are screened, which seperates broken kernels and chaff from the whole kernels. I didn’t even attempt to clean these products further, but then I’m the kind of guy who might drop his hamburger into the charcoal and eat it anyway. As far as the weight difference (Cleaned v.s dirty) is concerned, and difference would be negligible.

Weevil eggs, Indian meal moths etc. can be found from any source. I am not aware that products are treated in any way for human food products. I do know that quality control issues are different for animal feed sources then sources for human consumption. For example, bird seed and cat/dog food might produce weevils or Indian meal moths right away and you might see them present at the source. That’s not supposed to be true at sources designed for human consumption, but then I have seen Indian meal moths in grocery stores flying around the ceral aisle!

We’ve had a bout with Indian meal moths after opening a box of cereal a couple years ago. I’ve never seen weevils, which surprises me considering we buy grains in bulk. Weevils can be destroyed by freezing the products for three days. If you’re worried about them and live in the north, set your products outside for a few days in the winter, or take turns stuffing them into a freezer. If you are rotating stock, I don’t think it is much of an issue, but if you are keeping multi year supplies, you might run into them. They are not harmful at all and you could even eat them, I suppose, if you think you need a little extra protein. (I am not sure if they are kosher or not!) I talk tough, but I should admit my wife did throw out stuff when we had Indian meal moths. Had it been up to me, I would have picked them out, froze it, and not worried about it!

As far as caveats go, the only grain I am aware of that I would be leary of is corn. As far as I know, genetically modified corn (BT, for example) is not supposed to be present in food sources for humans (although its fine to feed them to animals that we in turn eat.) That said, I am not sure if it is even possible to know if GMO grains are kept distinct from other varieties. We always go for the organic when we buy corn meal and my dad raises our beef which is primarily pasture fed, although he does feed some corn to them in the winter.

23 11 2008
Rob

I am not sure if they are feed grains or not, but our local coop sells a ‘planting grain’ that I personally have been bulking up on. I purchase hard-red-winter wheat as it has a better shelf-life as long as it is un-ground. It will pretty much keep for a very long time provided you keep the humidity away from it. I will occasionally dip a handful out of the bag and pop it into my mouth as something to munch on. Weevils are a bit problem pretty much after you ground it, but no one really complains about the extra protein as they do not contribute to ‘flavor’ in either way bad or good.

Oats need a good deal of cleaning as far as they usually still have their shell on, however some people just grind this up and are thankful for the additional fibre. 😉

I am not sure about rye or other grains. I am personally looking for a good supplier of barley so if you find one that sells 55# bags or similar let me know, barley isn’t sold much around here.

I posted a link some time ago about storing your grain using dry-ice and such, the resource I obtained the information from says he has no problem with weevils when storing wheat this way. The link is here:

http://wildcraft.gaelicmysts.com/?p=489

25 11 2008
Clint

As a grain farmer and a home-grain-grinder and feeder of goats, cattle and chickens, I’ve got a few words.

Concerning Corn, Soybeans, and Wheat: Dirty grain usually contributes to .1-2% of weight and maybe just a little more in volume. Around here, not much of that is bugs, it’s mostly chaff and stems. This won’t hurt animals a bit and most critters will pick through what they want and leave the rest. In fact, I scoop up the dirtiest spilled grain for my goats, even full of rocks for the chickens.

Home grinding is another matter. You want it clean, but this you can do yourself. Find the cleanest grain you can to start with. Winnow it by pouring from one bucket to another in the wind from just the right height. After grinding you may have to sift out wheat chaff and corn skins. If you sift out grits through a larger sifter you will collect skins with your grits. Carefully winnow this out, or scoop the floaters out of the grits when you pour water over it.

Find a farmer to sell you some grain out the door of a bin. Come prepared with feedsacks and a 5 gal bucket to catch it with. I weight the first bucket to 50-60#, mark a line and fill to there each time. Offer the farmer a dollar or two over market price and pay cash. No tax for you, no tax for farmer.

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