Quote of the Day
(1) You have to fight when you already feel defeated;(2) You have to delay gratification; (3) You have to make mistakes, look like an idiot, and try again — without even flinching; (4) You have to keep your emotions in check; (5) You have to make the calls you’re afraid to make; (6) You have to trust your gut; (7) You have to lead when no one else follows; (8) You have to focus on the details even when it makes your mind numb; (9) You have to be kind to people who are rude to you; (10) You have to be accountable for your actions, no matter what.
— Travis Bradbury on what constitutes mental strength.
I am going to grow and process some oats this year. This is a project that I have been interested in doing for a while because one of my sons is now in the oat business and he has shown some interest in working through the entire oat processing cycle. As a boy, I used to mill oats on the family farm, but I remember very little of that time.
I am fortunate because one of my brothers is a farmer who grows oats as a cover crop in the corners of his center pivot irrigation systems, so I have access to some land to cultivate, harvest, and process a small amount of oats.
My plan is to grow enough oats to make a 20 lb bag of oat flour. A little math shows me that 10 m x 10 m oat garden should be enough (Figure 2).
In addition to my area calculation, I wanted to gather a bit of information on oat production in the US. The USDA Statistical Service provides an excellent resource for this type of information. Using Power Query, I grabbed some data from the USDA records for 2016, 2017, and 2018. Table 1 shows a quick summary of the US oat production data from the USDA records. For those who are interested, my Excel workbook is here.
Note that most of the oats planted in the US are not harvested. This is because they are used as a cover crop – a crop planted to manage the land and not for production. By land management, I mean things like erosion control and replacing soil nutrients. In fact, I know what farmer who referred to oats as "green manure."