What is Cereal Farming?
Not to be confused with rounding up cornflakes into a pen with a spoon. Cereal farming is the process of growing and cultivating cereal crops for human and livestock food uses.
Cereals or grains come from a grass based family and are grown for their starchy values and rich source of vitamins, minerals and protein. Cereal grains are the most cultivated food energy source than any other crop and can be grown in greater amounts, making them a vital part of our food pyramid and industry as a whole.
What are Cereals?
A cereal is a grain grown in crops fields and would have originally been members of the grass family. This includes: Wheat, corn, rice, maize, rye, oats, millets, sorghum and barley. These are considered the most common types of grain that are cultivated. They are also considered to be staple crops, due to the consistency and availability of the produce.
The process of breeding, preparation, protection and milling cereals can be a complicated period before the final product is created and sent out and eventually eaten by us (or cows).
Cultivating the grains can differ from country to country due to economic differences. There are many factors that can affect the grains growing, the amount of rainfall, the nature of the soil and the growing techniques put in place by individual farming houses.
Each type of grain can be cultivated differently and will often need to be. Making life a bit harder for the people in charge of breeding the cereals.
Machinery is often used to prepare soil for seeding. However in some parts of the world animal ploughs are used to do a similar job. These are used to render the soil more equipped for processing and growing grains. Like anything, the equipment differs depending on the environmental factors of the area. Rainfall and soil erosion are just some of the problems facing preparation.
Weeds, insects and disease are other issues facing cereal growth.
Cereal grains are self-breeding. They pollinate amongst themselves. The stamen of a flower will impregnate the same type of flower, causing pure breeding of grains. New varieties of grains are created by artificially transferring stamen from different flowers to each other, causing cross examination. This is done to create most versatile grains and evolution of cereals. Potentially making them more resilient to diseases.
Now most likely done with a modern combine harvester. Sickles and flails are still used in developing countries, but more and more these machines are being brought over to crop farms as the need will increase. This can take less than half an hour, with the most developed of industrial companies taking only five minutes.
Once harvested the grains are graded. Allowing the buyer to know exactly what they’re buying. Sometimes without the need for testing.
Cereals are stored in huge Silo’s. This extensive type of build is needed as so much cereal is made throughout the year. They can be found at export docks of importing countries, making the move fast. Insufficient storage of cereals could mean a high loss in produce. Like in preparation, insects and diseases, fungal and mould are problems that face Silo’s. Good care of silos, including intensive cleaning, fumigation, sack and bag upkeep are all things that keep our cereals in a high quality condition.
Cereals are rarely eaten raw. Dry and wet and many other milling processes are used depending on the grain. For example, corn often needs a wet milling process. Most others use a dry process. Wheat is crushed between cylinders and sieved after air purification. The grains are made to look attractive for foodstuff.