Multiple markets are emerging in the Hudson Valley region and greater northeast for locally sourced small grains. Primary higher-value emerging markets include artisan baking, specialty culinary applications, brewing, and distilling. Hudson Valley small grains production is particularly challenged by 1) an immature local small grains economy and profitability unknowns, 2) a lack of regional knowledge, equipment, and infrastructure for grains production, and 3) the humid climate of the northeastern US, which poses difficulties for producing grains that meet modern human consumption quality standards.
The Local Economies Project is supporting a four-year (2014-2018) project with Cornell University, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ulster County and the Hudson Valley Farm Hub to select varieties of small grains suitable to the Hudson Valley region and emerging market needs. The project consists of trialing 1) 20-30 varieties of spring and winter grains in small plots and 2) six select varieties in field-scale plots over three different growing seasons and locations. The six select varieties grown in the field-scale trials will be then trialed by several local partnering bakers, maltsters, brewers, and distillers for market quality assessments. All trials will have paired plots of both organic management and conventional integrated pest management (IPM) to evaluate varieties under differing management scenarios. The project covers a total of 60 acres and the grain trials are being grown in the context of a larger field crop rotation that includes various legume and grain crops.
Data will be collected and analyzed by Cornell throughout the project following evaluations of grain variety yield characteristics (quantity and quality) and grain disease incidence. Qualitative data on grain management will also be collected throughout the project to highlight future research needs and logistical production issues encountered on a farm and region new to modern small grains production. The project team will also coordinate educational events and produce educational materials to increase knowledge of value-added small grains production and grain systems for local markets. Multiple networking opportunities for stakeholders involved in developing infrastructures for a local small grains economy will also be facilitated throughout by the project team.
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Last updated March 16, 2021