The word cereal is derived from ceres, the Roman Goddess of grain. The common cereal crops are rice, wheat, corn, oats and rye. The term cereal is not limited to these but also flours, meals, breads and alimentary pastes or pasta. Cereal science is a study concerned with all technical aspects of cereal. It is the study the nature of the cereals and the changes that occurs naturally and as a result of handling and processing.

Friday, December 10, 2021

Cultivation of buckwheat

Buckwheat belongs to the family Polygonaceae and genus Fagopyrum. It is a broad leaved, annual, and dicotyledonous crop that attains a maximum height of about 2–5 ft. The crop is not a cereal, but its fruits are expediently classified among the cereal grains because of their similar usage.

Buckwheat is a warm-season, broadleaf annual with superficial surface roots, a weak tap root and erect, reddish stems. It is notable for being a short-season crop, requiring only 10 to 12 weeks to mature, and for requiring only moderate soil fertility.

Its cultivation requires the land to be prepared several weeks in advance for weed removal to increase the porosity of the soil. Further, the drainage should be such so that the submerging of seeds is avoided because water lodging will effect germination and thus reduce the crop yield.

Buckwheat grown for grain harvest should be planted when vegetative growth can occur in warm weather and seed development can occur in cool weather. Recommended planting dates vary from late May to mid-June in North Dakota, mid-June to mid-July in New York, and mid-July in central Washington (under irrigation).

The recommended sowing depth of seeds is about 4–6 cm but during dry climatic conditions seeds are sown deeper for adequate moisture.

Buckwheat has modest fertility needs, and many growers rely only on residual fertility. The recommended fertilizer requirement for buckwheat cultivation includes 47 kg nitrogen, 22 kg phosphorus, and 40 kg potassium to produce a yield of about 1600 kg/ha. Buckwheat tolerates soil pH as low as 4.8.

Buckwheat plants begin to flower within 3 to 6 weeks after planting and flower continuously for several weeks. Flowers are self-sterile and require pollination by insects or wind for fertilization.

In some high-altitude areas buckwheat is harvested late in the season while at mid- and low-altitudinal areas it is harvested early. Timely harvesting of buckwheat is essential to prevent shattering of grains.

Under normal conditions it can usually be harvested approximately 10 weeks after planting. Harvest should begin when 70–75% of the seeds have reached physiological maturity, and the plants have shed most of their leaves.

On a small scale, buckwheat is easy to thresh because most of the seeds fall out if a dry bundle of grain is shaken. After harvesting the seeds must be well-dried and kept at about 14 per cent or less moisture for the safe storage of buckwheat grains.

Harvested seeds are dehulled after drying, and the remaining part, called groats, is ground into flour.
Cultivation of buckwheat

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