Carrington Research Extension Center


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CREC Niche Seed Crop


Buckwheat has been and is again a niche seed crop grown within the CREC’s foundation seedstock program. The variety Manor was already part of the seed increase program back in the 1980’s. Fresh out of college, I was employed as a technician in the seed program. My memory of buckwheat is still the same, potentially having a lot of plant mass coming through the windrower opening when swathing and then having limited remaining straw after combining. After a few years of foundation seed production and declining seed sales, a decision was made to discontinue further seed increases.

About 20 years later, in the early 2000’s, growers asked if we would start growing buckwheat again to provide a source of pure seed. In 2003 the CREC initiated a new increase with a 12 acre planting since seed was very limited. Because of customer demand, our acreage has steadily increased over the years to the 80 to 90 acres which we generally now grow and condition. Over the course of the past 14 years the CREC has maintained an inventory of foundation grade seed for sale. Within this cycle of Manor buckwheat seed production there has only been three years that the crop has not been produced. In those three years the combination of carryover inventory and seed demand warranted no need for additional plantings.

The variety Manor is an old public variety where seed can be purchased without a contract that may be required if sourced from a private company. Even though this is an older variety, it is still shown to be competitive with yields of other varieties. Our seed typically is in demand by customers who have connections to the organic markets.



Manor Buckwheat

Buckwheat is a warm season crop that is very sensitive to frost and as such spring and fall frost dates are critical. The planting dates we have used across the years of our seed increase fields have ranged from May 22nd to June 13th. As we review our production through the years we see our best performance coming from planting dates around the 24th to the 28th of May.  The timing of a heat or drought stress can have a big impact on flowering time and duration which in turn seems to determine the yield. In our seed increase program, we typically plant about 50 # of seed per acre and at a seeding depth of 1 to 1.5 inches. A firm seedbed is needed to help ensure fast emergence and rapid plant growth. This is essential to help compete with weeds. A heavy pounding rain after planting can cause crusting issues with delayed, uneven emergence. For more information on buckwheat production you can review the Buckwheat Production guide available from the NDSU Extension Service.  

Seedstocks Research Specialist

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