I’ve never been a fan of the pre-made “survival seed banks” that are sold to preppers for a variety of reasons. I won’t get into all the reasons today, but some time back I was sent a sample of one company’s seed collection that was marketed as a “bug out seed bag” or some such thing. While the quality of the seeds was probably better than average, one thing that bugged me about it was that it proudly advertised it contained wheat seed. This particular mylar packaged bag of seeds contained one garden sized packet of winter wheat seed. The sad thing is that some poor soul who doesn’t know any better is walking around thinking they are going to grow a meaningful amount of wheat from this tiny packet. This is not the case.
Lets look at reality for a moment…
On average, there are 22 seeds per head and 5 heads per wheat plant. This works out to about 110 seeds per plant. So lets say for sake of argument that the packet has 50 seeds in it. If it all germinates, survives the winter, and makes a harvest-able crop you are looking at a yield of about 5,500 kernels of wheat. On average it takes 15,000 wheat kernels (or seeds) to make a pound. That’s right folks, that packet of seed MIGHT produce just under a half a pound wheat. How many loaves of bread do plan on eating?
Real Post SHTF Wheat Production
If you are serious about growing your own wheat for the sake of your family’s survival, you need to think a lot bigger than a seed packet. The US average yield for wheat is about 47 bushels per acre. A bushel of wheat weighs 60 lbs. Keep in mind these figure are for commercial wheat production using modern fertilizers and weed control measures. I would expect the average yield in a post SHTF world will be much lower, probably closer to 30 bushels per acre.
Most reliable resources figure you need about 300 lbs of wheat per adult for a years supply of survival food but it is also been figured that the average American on a “standard American diet” consumes 1996 lbs of wheat a year. I’ll let you decide how much you need for your family, but a family of 4 should probably have about 900 lbs of wheat for a year’s supply at minimum.
So the next question is “how much do I need to plant”. Lets stick with a family of 4 for our example. You should plan to seed about 60 lbs to the acre. This should yield you a harvest of about 1800 lbs to the acre (using our 30 bushel to the acre estimate from above). So you should be able to get by planting 1/2 an acre which will require about 30 lbs of seed.
You also need to have a plan for tillage, harvest, processing, and storage of this wheat crop. I will visit these topics in a future article. The import thing right now is that you understand just how much land and seed is required to grow wheat for your family and you aren’t under the impression that you can do it with a seed packet.
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