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Wheat From The Mill: Is It Feed or Seed Grain? Make Sure You Get The Right Kind!

>29 March 2011
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I got a really interesting email from one of my readers a while back. He was wondering if the wheat that I purchased from the mill was seed wheat, or feed wheat. He also wondered if it mattered which one he got.

To tell you the truth… I had no idea! I had no clue there was a difference in wheat that could be purchased, other than whether it was hard or soft wheat.

He was then kind enough to email me later with the link to a very interesting article explaining the difference between feed and seed grain. After reading it I became very concerned that I didn’t know what type of wheat we’d stocked up on. I’d told the lady at the mill that I planned on grinding it myself… surely she would tell me if I was getting the wrong kind! But then again, you never know. She may not have known the difference either.

Basically what I learned after reading the article is that “seed” grain is meant for being planted, and is often treated with insecticides and fungicides. It is NOT safe for people (or animals) to eat.

Feed grain, which is meant for animals to consume, is safe for humans to eat. There is also something called “field run” grain that you can purchase. It has been handled less, and will still have dirt and debris in it, but it’s generally cheapest to purchase and can easily be washed at home.

I didn’t hesitate to call the mill and ask the nice lady if she could tell me which type of grain it is that they sell. What a relief I felt when she explained that the only grains they carry are feed grains, and they actually use the very wheat I purchased to make whole wheat flour that they sell in their country store.

Whew! That would have stunk if we’d bought hundreds of pounds of the wrong kind of wheat!!

I thought I’d share this information with those of you who like me were oblivious, in case you come across a mill and plan on buying some of their wheat. Make sure that what you get is “untreated feed grain”.

Thanks Darren, for sharing what you’ve learned with me, so that I could pass this important information along!

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  • Jennifer said:

    I wonder if you can still plant “feed” grain?

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:


    Probably, it just wouldn’t be as resistant to bugs and disease, I would think. You can sprout it, so I don’t see why you couldn’t plant it :)

  • Kimberly said:

    Love this!! I was looking to buy bulk oats last night. Online it was 9 lbs for $17. Not a great deal.

    Today I went to buy chicken feed for the first time and noticed 50 lb feed bags of rolled oats for $17. I wanted to check it out first before poisoning my family. I’m new to this life.

    I just read your post and mentioned what I saw to my hubby.
    You thinking what I’m thinking? Yup, I’m heading back to the feed store tomorrow!

  • Darren (Green Change) said:

    The same thing applies to any kind of seeds you buy for sprouting (peas, beans, alfalfa, snow peas, wheat, barley, etc). Make sure you buy seeds that are meant for eating/sprouting, not for planting!

  • Michelle @ Give a Girl a Fig said:

    Wow…thank you so much for posting about this. I NEVER would have known to ask! I was just researching wheat in bulk…this helps me so much!

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    Glad to be able to help, Michelle!! Sometimes you don’t know what you don’t know :)

  • Lacey said:

    Girl, I really do learn something new with each of your posts. Someone comments on Oats and I want to know more about how to make your own cold cereals from scratch. We are learning, but there are just too many ingredients on packaged cereals that I have no clue what it is. Any help would be appreciated.

  • Babychaser said:

    This is great to know! Thanks for sharing.

    Really, we’ll want to plant this feed grain too… As hard as we work to be pesticide free… getting seed grain that has it already would be very annoying!

  • Babychaser said:

    One more thing… anyone know if the heirloom seed companies’ seeds are pre-treated??? That would be awful!

  • Kimberly said:

    NOTE TO ANYONE: Don’t by the rolled oats. It’s not oatmeal oats. Hope the goats like ‘em….50 lbs later…

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