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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    East Peoria, IL
    Posts
    398

    Default planting buckwheat in a drought

    I'm in Central IL and we're in a severe drought according the Drought Monitor. The guy that farms the ground my bees are on has 3 acres that he's not using this year. He told me he was just going to plant more pumpkins (already has 4 acres) until I convinced him to plant buckwheat for the bees. I offered to help cover the cost of the seed but I'm starting to think I may not get much, if any return on the investment with it being so dry. Anyone got some insight on nectar flow on buckwheat in dry conditions? There is no way to irrigate either.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    elmira new york
    Posts
    89

    Default Re: planting buckwheat in a drought

    i am in upstate NY and am running a test plot of buckwheat now to see whats gonna happen, we've not had much rain so far, it is coming up well though for what little moisture we have had

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Kingsville, OH
    Posts
    959

    Default Re: planting buckwheat in a drought

    I would plant it. We too are dry here in Northeast Ohio, some parts of our county has had rain, but none on my farm. Soybeans are coming up nice. Even the weeds are not growing much. I wish I had a spot for some buckwheat.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    DeKalb Co. Alabama U.S.A.
    Posts
    232

    Default Re: planting buckwheat in a drought

    Quote Originally Posted by DLMKA View Post
    Anyone got some insight on nectar flow on buckwheat in dry conditions? There is no way to irrigate either.
    Many opinions on buckwheat and nectar from it. I have planted different varieties....at different times....under different growing conditions. The only planting I have no opinion on is early spring. A late frost killed most of the planting about a week before blooming.

    My observations and opinions:

    1) Based on the general agreement that buckwheat produces nectar with warm days and cool nights, down South that would limit me to Spring or Autumn plantings if I want to expect nectar production.

    2) The bees will absolutely cover the blooms from early morning until 10:00a.m. or so. I'm persuaded there is a timing issue - the blooms from my observation may look "very inviting" but only a few honeybees will be visiting. A day or two later- well, one just needs to see for oneself.

    A personal observation here. One planting that received 3" rain just before blooming was worked heavily by the bees. I did notice pollen was being collected. However, I feel little or no nectar was collected. The bee "visit" would almost appear frantic and only a fraction of a second in most cases. Maybe this is normal on buckwheat.

    As to your question - you can plant in dry conditions. I checked on a 3/4 acre patch today. It was planted just after the rain mentioned above. It came up well, but record breaking heat for almost two weeks convinced me it was doomed to a complete failure. I checked it today (after a welcome thunderstorm last night) and was surprised. It is pretty drought tolerant. It seems to go into "conserve mode" until it gets moisture.

    Personally, if I had opportunity to plant as you do, I would do it. Three acres is a nice sized "test plot"...it shouldn't require any fertilizer...it would be good for the soil...you could likely get a second crop by mowing after seeds mature and lightly tilling. Again, with three acres, if possible I would consider harvesting at least some of it for future plantings. It should remain viable for two or three years if stored properly.

    You have many options and maybe low enough expense to go for it...

    Good luck.

    CC

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Marlow, Oklahoma
    Posts
    62

    Default Re: planting buckwheat in a drought

    I planted a 1/3 acre plot and it was blooming full force up till mid June and then it started tapering off. My plan is to let the seeds mature a little more then mow/till and hope it rains soon. The bees did go crazy over the buckwheat and I saw bees up through the noon hour working the buckwheat. I also just planted a one acre plot.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Bon Aqua, Tn USA
    Posts
    330

    Default Re: planting buckwheat in a drought

    What little I planted early this year came up good because it was warm and we had good rain and the bees seemed to love it, they could easily be seen all over the patch I planted and they were bringing in a creme colored pollen during the early mornings till before noon. You can run a search on it and I found that they only recommend 50# of nitrogen per acre and they said the cost to the farmer was only about $50 to the acre to plant buckwheat. Hopefully you will get later rain, one farmer in NC said he liked to get his in around the 4th of July for his late crop. Good rain produces about a 3' tall plant and they have abundant blooms up and down the plants. Here's a short clip on utube of a nice field and how his bees loved it.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uCH-S_0zmKU

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    East Peoria, IL
    Posts
    398

    Default Re: planting buckwheat in a drought

    I'll try the first acre and if it comes up in the first 2 weeks I'll plant the other two acres. They guy only raises vegetables and plants some soybeans and corn for foodplots. I'm not sure if I could find someone willing to bring in a combine for 3 acres.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Bon Aqua, Tn USA
    Posts
    330

    Default Re: planting buckwheat in a drought

    Unless you plan on selling the seed, most people around here would only plant it to improve the soil, so they would just till it back into the soil, it adds phosphorus to the soil. It can be used for buckwheat pancakes, breads and such. The added benefit for bee keepers is that the bees love it.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    East Peoria, IL
    Posts
    398

    Default Re: planting buckwheat in a drought

    We got 1/2" of rain yesterday morning so I went ahead anf bought 50 lbs to test on 1 acre. If it fails I'm out $45 so no huge loss. The guy that plants the ground doesn't have a grain drill so we're going to broadcast and run a drag over to work the seed in.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    DeKalb Co. Alabama U.S.A.
    Posts
    232

    Default Re: planting buckwheat in a drought

    Quote Originally Posted by DLMKA View Post
    The guy that plants the ground doesn't have a grain drill so we're going to broadcast and run a drag over to work the seed in.
    The only problem I have in using a drag is the stubble/debris collects and makes for dips, ditches, humps and bumps...
    What works well for me is a disc harrow with all the "angle" removed and set very shallow - just disturbing the top inch or so. In clean, well-tilled ground, the drag should work very well.
    Good luck!

    CC

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Indiana, Clay County
    Posts
    572

    Default Re: planting buckwheat in a drought

    I have had buckewheat grow with as little as 2 1/4 inch rains spaced 2 weeks apart. I had some volunteers come up during this drought but they withered and died--- Good luck

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Lavaca county, Texas
    Posts
    497

    Default Re: planting buckwheat in a drought

    Buckwheat needs rain. Everything I've planted during drought (3 previous years in TX) or dry, without timely rain, died. Period. They are a good bee plant IF you have enough moisture.

    Good luck,
    Summer

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    East Peoria, IL
    Posts
    398

    Default Re: planting buckwheat in a drought

    I know all about needing moisture. We've had a few well timed rains and I'm taking a gamble on a few more well timed rains.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Quitman,Ga
    Posts
    23

    Default Re: planting buckwheat in a drought

    I planted my Buckwheat on Friday the 13 July and today it is about 1/2 inch
    high and doing great. We had a couple of showers on it during that time.
    I am in South Georgia near Fla Line and if the deer don't eat it all I should
    have a nice crop of Buckwheat. We wont have any frost until end of October
    Maybe Later. I read up a lot about buckwheat before I planted it. Bees do love
    it. I can get 50 LBS here at a local seed store for $42.50 I put 1 bag on one acre
    Wally

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