You own 20 acres of fairly okay land in Pennsylvania or Ohio for your homestead. You have 5 acres in gardens and orchards, your plants and trees picked out with an eye to the climate and suitability.
So, you have 15 acres to use for livestock.....snip.........
Now, take those 15 acres, fence 5 acres for your pasture and 5 acres for a hayfield. (We'll talk about the last 5 acres in a later post)
The last five acres...
2 acres in wheat suitable for your area
1 acre in corn (again, suitable for your area)
1 acre mixed in pumpkins, cabbages, and various squashes
1 acre in buckwheat (or other grains)
Here's the reasoning...
The two acres in wheat is for your families use. Two acres, if properly cultivated will provide ample supplies of wheat for your families needs with a bit left over to mix into the farm animals feed.
One acre in corn, again for your families needs and for livestock feed.
One acre mixed in pumpkins, cabbages and various squashes is, again, for your use AND livestock use. Cattle, chickens, pigs, etc. thrive on pumpkins, cabbages and such. High sugar levels give them the caloric intake to gain weight, produce more (milk & eggs) and withstand colder temperatures in winter. Also, all of those vegetables store easily and well!
One acre in buckwheat (or other grains suitable for your area). Variety is the spice of life!
Buckwheat pancakes, bannock, and kasha are a welcome respite in your diet. Nutritionally, buckwheat is a good choice as it balances the sugars in your body and can help delay or prevent the onset of diabetes. Also, mixing in buckwheat with animal feed also helps your livestock stay healthier.
Other grains to consider, sunflowers, quinoa, amaranth, oats and barley. If it were legal to grow hemp for the seed, I would highly recommend that.
Sunflowers can be grown for their seed which have a high fat content and can be used to make sunflower seed oil. Yes, sunflowers will grow in colder climes, some of the very best come from Siberia! Sunflower seeds added to animal rations will *up* the fat and calories in their diet--good for most critters.
Oats are always a good choice.Oat protein is nearly equivalent in quality to soy protein, which has been shown by the World Health Organization to be equal to meat, milk, and egg protein. The protein content of the hull-less oat kernel (groat) ranges from 12–24%, the highest among cereals.
According to a recent study, eating whole grain barley can regulate blood sugar for up to 10 hrs after consumption compared to white or even whole-grain wheat, which has a similar glycemic index.
An additional barley product is the straw. It is placed in mesh bags and floated in fish ponds or water gardens to help reduce algal growth without harming the plants or animals in the habitat. .
Amaranth seeds, like buckwheat and quinoa, contain protein that is unusually complete for plant sources.
Amaranthus species are reported to have a 30% higher protein value than other cereals, such as rice, wheat flour, oats and rye
In contemporary times, this crop has become highly appreciated for its nutritional value, as its protein content is very high (12%–18%), making it a healthy choice for vegetarians and vegans. Unlike wheat or rice (which are low in lysine), quinoa contains a balanced set of essential amino acids for humans, making it an unusually complete protein source.
You could even divide that last acre and grow two to four different *other* grains on it.
Some of these crops may require a bit of searching to find seed stocks and even more searching to learn the cultivation techniques to get the best crop, but it will be well worth the effort.