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Some of Tom’s thoughts on small-scale grain production | New World Seeds & Tubers

I just got off the phone with Tom.

He pointed out a few things to me about small-scale grain production that had not occurred to me earlier.

One is that wheat especially is a disease-prone crop. Add highly-inbred “monoculture” to concentrated production in huge fields, and that makes it even more so.

If production is more local, scattered, rotated with other crops, and the varieties variable and kept blended, that cuts down on the spread of catastrophic diseases like the U99.

Another is that difficult threshing is not a problem so much as a mixed-blessing. The inverse of difficult threshing is “shattering”. That’s when a seed-crop drops its seeds in the field instead of holding onto them for harvest.

Finding a way to efficiently thresh grain on a small scale would remove the only real bottleneck for small-scale production (aside from marketing, which is more conceptual than intrinsic). In Asia there exist small-scale rice dehullers; maybe an analogous device could be designed for small-scale threshing.

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