Burning Down The Barley
With wildfire season behind us at Rogue Farms, we were ready to get into our barley fields and do some serious clean up work.
Field burning is how we keep our soil healthy, and healthy soil means better barley.
But beyond the practical reasons, field burning is one of the most awe inspiring things you’ll ever see.
Is This Dangerous?
It has a lot to do with the weather. A month ago, this would have been extremely dangerous. But September has been cooler than average with little or no wind. These are the best conditions for field burning.
Can Anyone Do This?
No. Field burning is closely regulated in Oregon and requires a permit. Like we said earlier, the weather conditions have to be right and it’s not allowed in populated areas. Our Tygh Valley farm is pretty much in the middle of nowhere. For extra safety, a fire specialist from the Oregon Department of Forestry came out to watch.
How Does This Help The Soil?
When we’re done harvesting our malting barley the fields are covered in a thick stubble of leftover stalks. Field burning breaks down the stubble into minerals and nutrients we plow back into the earth to improve soil conditions and nutrition. The fire also kills weeds, pests and diseases.
The most striking thing about watching a field burn is seeing how heat creates its own micro-weather.
When The Fire Dies And The Smoke Clears
In a few weeks, we’ll plow, disc and harrow these fields to plant the fall crop of Risk™ malting barley. The minerals and nutrients from the burn will give our barley seeds the best start possible, one where we can use as little fertilizer as possible. That’s also good for our barley.
The fields we burned, and the seeds we’ll plant will become the malting barley we mash for future batches Rogue beers and spirits. It’s a long journey from ground to glass.
Rogue Farms in Independence, Oregon is open daily during September and October. Autumn is a beautiful time of year, and we still have more ingredients to pick and harvest. Plus, we never run out of beer. Come pay us a visit and see how we Grow The Revolution.