This is the 40 acres of wheat that we are growing to feed the chickens. There have been no significant rains for some time now, and the crop is thirsty. During some past springs, there have been enough rain in March and April that no extra irrigation is needed. This year, though, we do need to add some irrigation. The water comes from the Solano Irrigation District (SID) canal in front of the farm. We are members of SID, who have the operating license for Lake Berryessa. We order the water one day in advance, and our Water Tender, Larry, opens the valve or turns on a pump to feed water into our system. We cannot vary the flow so we have to be ready to take all the water at once. The water is paid for in two ways: (a) by the volume we use and (b) by a tax added onto our yearly property tax. We spend about $10,000 each year on this water. We do also use our own well when we need to irrigate for less than 24 hours and need less water.
The wheat is being irrigated by Mark and Matt Cooley, who are farming the wheat for us. We do not have the equipment or the experience to grow a great crop of wheat.
This variety, Expresso, is a hard red variety that could make good flour if the protein level is high enough. We are hoping to mill some of the crop into flour to put into your box this summer or fall… Nigel