Plant from April on through October. 12-60 lbs. per acre. Mix with Haygrazers for increased forage yields.
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Buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum Moench) is a broadleaf plant native to northern Asia. Seeds are brown in color, roughly the size of a soybean, but irregularly shaped, with four triangular surfaces. The seeds germinate and emerge rapidly when planted in warm soil, typically in three to four days. Plants grow rapidly, producing small heart-shaped leaves with slender, hollow stems. Although a field of buckwheat in full flower appears to cover the ground densely, each individual plant, if pulled up, will appear rather spindly upon close inspection.
Flowering begins about three weeks after planting, and proceeds prolifically for a few weeks, before gradually tapering off as the plant matures. At the peak of flowering, a buckwheat field is a striking sea of white petals. After a flower is pollinated, a full-sized seed will form within 10 days, although that seed will need another week or two to reach maturity. Seeds appear and mature earlier on the lower stem, with seed development continuing up the stem as the plant matures. The prolific flowers on buckwheat have made the crop a good nectar source for honey bee keepers.
Plant height and speed of maturity depend on planting date. If planted early in the summer, and given good fertility, plants will usually be at least three feet (about 1 m) tall, and may take 11 to 12 weeks to mature. If planted in the latter part of July, buckwheat will mature in about 9 to 10 weeks, and will be shorter, about 30 inches on good soils and 24 inches tall or less on poor soils. A hot, dry period during plant development will limit the vigor and size of the crop. Buckwheat is not drought tolerant, even though some publications refer to it as such. It is really more of a drought avoider, since it may be maturing after the worst of the summer dry period is over, when fall rains may have begun. Buckwheat leaves will often wilt on hot, dry days, only to perk back up at night and appear normal the next morning.
Buckwheat enjoyed a resurgence of popularity in the mid 1970's that was brought on by the demand for commercially prepared breakfast cereal and by exports to Japan for making buckwheat noodles.
This boom was due to the nutritional excellence of buckwheat.
USDA-ARS analyses indicate that the grain has an amino acid composition nutritionally superior to all cereals, including oats.
Buckwheat protein is particularly rich (6%) in the limiting amino acid lysine.
Despite the name, buckwheat is not related to wheat, as it is not a grass. Instead, buckwheat is related to sorrel, knotweed, and rhubarb.