When we think of fall, we think of the harvest and the celebration of Thanksgiving.
But for Rogue Farms, fall is also the start of the beer growing season.
At our farm in Tygh Valley, we’ve been preparing the land where we’ll plant next year’s crop of Risk™ malting barley. The sooner we plant the seeds the better the crop. But getting the soil ready for seed drilling is a six week struggle between cold steel and hard dirt.
We start with plowing. Plowing overturns the soil at a depth of about eight inches and returns this year’s field debris back into the dirt as organic humus. Malting barley doesn’t like too much fertilizer. Reusing what’s leftover from this year’s crop helps us make better beer come next fall.
Every so often we stumble across something that not even our plow can break apart. We have to remove these big rocks before plowing can continue.
Then we disc and harrow. When we disc, we break up the large soil clumps into smaller pieces. Harrowing takes it a step further, creating a finer texture and level planting surface.
When we’re done with all three steps of plowing, discing and harrowing, the field is finally ready for planting.
We’ll plant the 2014 crop of Risk™ in the next week or so, and the first green shoots will emerge in November.
Risk™ is winter variety of malting barley. It needs to germinate in cold soil or it won’t produce flowers next spring; without flowers, there’s no kernels. While most barley farmers plant in the spring, our Risk™ winter malting barley is an outstanding performer. It consistently exceeds those demanding malting barley specifications year after year.
When you grow it, you know it. Taste the difference it makes the next time you’re drinking a Rogue beer or spirit.
Grow The Revolution!