Grain is one of the more highly mechanized types of commercial farming, requiring lots of machinery, equipment, land, and farmers to deliver the result. As this type of farming is outdoors and operates seasonally, farmers get very busy planting and harvesting periods.
Several types of grain are farmed worldwide, some of which are key staples to diets everywhere. Commercial grain farming can be found domestically and internationally. Here are nine different types of commercial grain farming:
Type #1: Rice Farming
Rice is widely recognized as one of the most difficult crops to cultivate simply because of the intensive labour involved. It takes rice roughly four months to go from seed to mature plant. In that time, farmers have to more or less flood their rice fields.
This is because rice grows best and yields higher yields when grown in flooded soil. It takes lots and lots of water. Rice also requires at least 40 continuous days of warm temperatures above 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Type #2: Oats Farming
Oats are a very popular grain for farmers, taking about 12 weeks after planting to harvest. Like other types of grain, oats are planted in the fields using a grain drill in 8-inch rows. Throughout the season, the oats germinate and grow with little interference or assistance from farmers needed once the process starts. However, before planting, this is when to add fertilizer and anything else a farmer wishes to have in the soil.
Once they are harvested, oats and other types of grains should be stored securely. The right moisture and temperature levels are essential to keep the grains in good condition. Farmers use wireless grain bin monitoring technologies to ensure their harvests preserve the highest quality.
Type #3: Corn Farming
Corn is a popular crop to grow because it is easy, although you have space. Corn is wind-pollinated. Planting in blocks or multiple rows to ensure pollination occurs is important. This type of grain needs warm temperatures, rich soil, and regular watering.
An advantage to growing corn commercially as a farmer is that unlike wheat and rice, and other small grains, you do not need any special equipment to harvest or hull it.
Type #4: Barley Farming
Barley is the fourth largest grain crop globally, after wheat, rice, and corn. Though you don’t need lots of lands to grow barley, it can be hard to source small amounts of seed as it’s also used as feed for domesticated animals.
Barley is a cool-season grass, making it more adaptable to North American farming than most other cereal grains. From planting to harvest, commercial barley farming takes about 90 days to get done.
Type #5: Rye Farming
Rye makes for an excellent pick in commercial grain farming as it grows well even when it’s in poor soil. It does not take much work on the part of a farmer. The growing season for rye is between 120 and 150 days.
The most popular type of rye is winter rye which can tolerate frosts down to -35 degrees Celsius. Compared to a grain like wheat, which is already very easy to cultivate, rye is even easier to plant and grow and is a great starter grain for many farmers searching for an entry into the industry.
Type #6: Wheat Farming
Wheat is one of the easier grains to farm. It’s easier to grow than most fruits and vegetables, similar to oats, millet, and other grains. More or less, anyone can grow their wheat. Farmers plant their wheat in the spring, and four months later, it is ready to be harvested.
Another approach is to plant in the fall and harvest eight months afterward. When a farmer plants their wheat grain depends on the region and their personal preferences.
Type #7: Millet Farming
Millet is a common type of commercial grain farming, typically grown in India, Nigeria, and elsewhere throughout Asia and Africa. It is often compared to quinoa, another whole grain. Millet is popular among farmers in the areas above because it grows well in drought-susceptible soil.
You can grow millet to maturity in 60 days providing strong seed formation, appropriate exposure to the sun, and nitrogen-rich fertilizer is in the soil.
Type #8: Sorghum Farming
Sorghum is the fifth most popular grain in the world food market and is a cereal grain as tall as corn. It is relatively easy to grow, provided you have the right conditions to do so. You want a summer that’s hot and warm, with daytime temperatures reaching up to 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
Like other grain crops, most sorghum varieties take 90-120 days to reach maturity. Sorghum is also self-fertile, so a large plot of land isn’t needed for pollination purposes.
Type #9: Spelt Farming
Spelt is a type of grain related to wheat, barley, and rye, with a nutty flavour and highly nutritious. Spelt is a grain used to make bread, flour, and pasta. Spelt growls well in poor soil, succeeding where wheat and other grains fail. Even in heavy clay or dry conditions, spelt can work. It is typically planted in the fall, sometime around September and harvested by June.
The most spelt in North America is grown in Ohio, where the state has almost 200,000 acres dedicated specifically to spelt, far above what’s found on other parts of the continent.