Buckwheat, Common - OrganicFagopyrum esculentum Annual broadleaf. Up to 4' high. Frost-sensitive. Large-seeded Japanese buckwheat with short maturity will tolerate most conditions, including soil pH as low 4.8. Bees like its abundant nectar. Byzantine Greeks introduced the crop to the Russians in the 7th century; it is known in Russia as grechka or ‘from Greece.’
As a cover crop, seed at 80–100#/acre, 3#/1000 sq ft. As a grain crop, seed at 40–60#/acre, 1#/1000 sq ft.
As cover crop: Excellent smother crop. Short maturity allows 2–3 crops per season. Should be mowed short or tilled in before it sets seeds. Responds well to fertility, holding it for subsequent crops. Makes calcium and phosphorus available for the next crop. Loosens clay soils. Juicy low-cellulose plant does not help build organic matter.
As food grain: Buckwheat is indeterminate and will have mature seeds, green seeds and flowers simultaneously. When a majority of seeds are mature, scythe or swath the crop and allow to field-dry for as long as possible before harvesting with a pickup head or threshing by hand. Buckwheat seeds are about 20% hull, which is removed during commercial milling, but the whole seed may be ground for flour if you don’t mind a coarser texture and some small black flecks.
As feed grain: High levels of lysine compared to other non-legumes can make buckwheat a valuable part of the ration. High in fiber and unsaturated fats. Contains a compound, fagopyrin, that can cause photosensitivity in light-skinned animals: restrict to less than 30% of the diet.
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