Soft Red Winter Wheat is a variety widely grown for straw and or grinding into flour. The flour which is high in starch and low in gluten-forming proteins (8 percent), is primarily milled as cake flour or pastry flour. You can make bread with it but the loaves will not rise like bread made from Hard Red Wheat. One nice aspect of the Soft Red is that it is short in stature, making it less likely to lodge in heavy rains or high wind. It is also very uniform which allows for easy harvesting when done by hand with a scythe or sickel.
We plant around the end of September. Planting should always be done after what is called the “fly date”. This refers to a pest called the hessian fly which can infest wheat in the fall if planted too early. In Northern Indiana, the “fly date” is in mid-September. We hand broadcast the wheat over the top of the beds. You can fork it in to avoid the grain being eaten by birds. Irrigate the beds and you should have germinating wheat within a week. The plants will grow a little and then go dormant for the winter. Harvesting is done in the mid-summer once the seed heads and stalks begin to dry. The wheat is bundled and brought into the drying shed or greenhouse for a few weeks before threshing. Traditionally this “curing” is done in the field by “shocking” the wheat, but Indiana summers sometimes experience heavy downpours of rain, which could cause mold growth in the seed heads. The grain is easily threshed by hand.