September 2021 – Farm Update
Bringing in the wheat!
As we mentioned in our last farm post, all the wheat is in! You may have heard in the news about wheat shortages in Western Canada due to poor growing conditions. Western Canada saw record-breaking droughts and many crops did not materialize throughout the growing season.
Ontario happened to have amazing growing conditions at the beginning of the summer. Lots of heat and rain! The conditions were so favourable the wheat became very plump ( lots of endosperm/ starch). The excess amount of endosperm made the proportion of protein much lower in the grain. For example, hard red spring wheat typically has protein levels around 13% protein has fallen below 11%. When protein contents are low the grains cannot be used to make good quality bread flour. But you might ask yourself why does the protein not increase proportionally with the endosperm? Nitrogen in manure is the limiting reagent in the formation of protein in wheat. Farmers determine their nutrient loading rates ( amount of manure spread per acre) based on projected protein level and yield. Typically, the yields are fairly consistent year to year for crops. Farmers add enough nutrients to target the desired level based on the specific variety of grain and data from previous growing seasons. Adding too many nutrients can cause eutrophication of the water through runoff and frankly are a waste of valuable resources, which no farmer ever wants to do. So most farmers are very particular about determining the appropriate nutrient load rates of the field based on the crop and average yield. In short, most farmers did not spread enough nitrogen to compensate for unanticipated extra grain growth.
Fortunately here at 1847 we have been busy since the harvest sourcing a variety of high quality organic wheat from our local farmers around Ontario. We have already sourced both the rarer high protein level wheat for the bread flour and the more abundant moderate protein content wheat for the all-purpose flours and they are safely stored in our grain bins. This guarantees that the remainder of 2021 and well into 2022 you will have access to great flour that makes you proud to bake.