If you’re planning on making your own bread or are simply interested in beginning the process of grinding your own wheat, you’ve likely researched buying wheat in your local area. It’s important to do your research though, because when it comes to wheat, there is often confusion between feed wheat and milling wheat.
Feed wheat is most often used in the diets of domesticated animals such as horses, cattle, chickens and pigs. Milling wheat, is specifically grown for human consumption.
Milling wheat has higher levels of proteins and essential amino acids, making it ideal for use in products such as pasta and baked goods.
Then there’s seed grain, which is used exclusively for planting a new batch of wheat…
So which type should you be buying when you’re interested in making your own bread? In this post, we’ll take a closer look at all the similarities and differences between the types of wheat you can buy.
What is Feed Wheat?
Feed wheat is a type of grain that can be used as a feedstock for animals or processed into food products for humans. Most of the time, it is used as part of animal feed, but in a pinch, can also be used for making bread and other products.
It is a type of soft red winter wheat with high starch content, meaning it can easily be ground into flour and used as an ingredient in baked goods like breads, cakes, and cookies. It also contains protein and fiber, making it perfect for animal feed.
Feed wheat grows best in regions with warm weather and moderate rainfall. It is most commonly grown in the Midwest United States and Canada where the climate is ideal for its cultivation.
In fact, the majority of feed wheat produced in the US comes from Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. A great deal of wheat is imported to the US, too, from places like Russia and Ukraine.
How Much Protein Does Feed Wheat Have?
Feed wheat has a relatively low protein content compared to other cereal grains, such as barley, oats and triticale.
While the protein content in feed wheat can range from 11%-15% depending on the variety, this amount is much lower than some of its cousins.
For example, oats contain around 17-20% whereas triticale commonly contains between 18-24%. Therefore it’s important to consider the variety of wheat being used as well as the particular animal being fed.
Generally speaking however, feed wheat can provide a moderately nutritious meal for livestock, horse and poultry if it is properly implemented and balanced with other dietary components.
What is Milling Wheat?
Milling wheat and feed wheat are both varieties of Triticum aestivum, or common wheat. The main difference between them is their end use – milling wheat is used for making flour, while feed wheat is used to feed livestock.
Milling wheat must meet certain requirements in order to be considered suitable for human consumption. It must have a high protein content (12-14%) and a low moisture content (11-14%).
This ensures that milled flour has an optimal consistency for baking purposes, as well as being safe to consume. In addition, milling wheat grains must be uniform in size and shape to ensure consistent milling results.
Feed wheat, on the other hand, does not need to meet the same high standards as milling wheat because it isn’t intended for human consumption and is instead used as a way for farmers to supplement their livestock’s carbohydrate and protein levels.
As such, feed wheat can have a lower protein content (9-12%) and higher moisture content (up to 18%). The grains can also vary in size and shape without any significant impact on its ability to be fed to livestock.
The real difference between milling and feed wheat boils down to quality versus quantity; milling wheats are of higher quality but lower quantity than feed wheats which are of lower quality but higher quantity than their respective counterparts.
When it comes time to choose which type of grain is right for you, it’s important to keep in mind what you intend the grain will be used for—after all, cows don’t care if their food looks pretty!
How Much Protein Does Milling Wheat Have?
The amount of protein in milling wheat can vary depending on certain characteristics, such as the type of wheat and its growing conditions.
Generally speaking, however, hard red winter wheat (as well as hard red spring wheat) or hard white winter wheat grown in temperate climates tend to have the highest levels of protein at around 11-15%.
Feed Wheat vs. Milling Wheat
Now, let’s take a closer look at the major differences between the two so you can decide which is best for your needs.
Feed wheat is a type of grain that’s often used as animal feed due to its low cost. Feed wheat is usually lower in protein than milling wheat, which makes it less desirable for human consumption. However, some people do use it to make bread or other baked goods because it has a milder flavor than milling wheat.
Milling wheat, on the other hand, is higher in protein than feed wheat, making it ideal for baking high-quality breads and pastries. It also has a more intense flavor than feed wheat, so if you want your baked goods to have a unique taste, milling wheat may be your best bet.
That said, the process of milling the wheat itself actually has some benefits and can produce some additional by-products for animal feeds. That said, these by-products are relatively low in calcium, phosphorus, and other nutrients.
So which type is better? That really depends on what you’re looking for. If you need something cheap and mild-tasting for animal feed or baking basic breads, then feed wheat might be your best choice.
On the other hand, if you want something with more intense flavor and higher protein content that will make your baked goods stand out from the crowd, then a milling wheat crop might be the way to go.
What is Seed Grain?
Then there’s seed grain, another key product in wheat production. 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.
Seed grain does not have the same digestibility of nutrients as milled wheat or feed wheat.
What is the Difference Between Feed Wheat and Seed Wheat?
People often use the terms “feed wheat” and “seed wheat” interchangeably, but they actually refer to very different types of wheat. While both are important components of the agricultural industry, they are used for vastly different purposes.
The main difference between feed wheat and seed wheat is that feed wheat is intended to be used as animal feed, while seed wheat is planted in order to produce more grain.
Feed wheat typically has a higher protein content than seed wheat, which makes it ideal for feeding livestock like swine. It also contains a lower amount of nitrogen, which prevents animals from becoming sick or developing allergies after consuming it.
On the other hand, seed wheat has a higher nitrogen content, making it ideal for planting in order to produce more grain.
Feed wheat has many advantages over other types of animal feed because it is cheaper than other grains such as corn or soybeans. It also provides more nutrition per pound than other grains due to its high protein content.
Because it contains fewer allergens than other grains such as soybeans or oats, it is less likely to cause an allergic reaction in animals that consume it.
However, feed wheat can still be difficult to digest and can also cause bloating if consumed in large amounts by animals that are not used to eating this type of grain (like sheep).
And if you’re growing wheat, seed wheat has its own set of advantages over other types of grain seeds because it germinates quickly when planted in the soil—usually within two weeks—making it ideal for farmers who need quick results from their crop rotation schedule.
Plus, because seed wheats contain a greater percentage of nitrogen than other types of grain seeds, they produce higher yields when harvested compared to grains like corn or oats.
So which types of wheat should you consider keeping in your long term food storage pantry? Definitely feed wheat or milled wheat – but milling wheat is preferred. Don’t stockpile seed grain, or you’ll find yourself with a ton of dry matter that you can’t actually eat!
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”.
A city girl learning to homestead on an acre of land in the country. Wife and homeschooling mother of four. Enjoying life, and everything that has to do with self sufficient living.
13 thoughts on “Feed Wheat vs. Milling Wheat vs. Seed Grain: Setting Things Straight”
Does anyone know if you can ‘clean’ the wheat berries intended for seed to remove pesticides, making them safe to eat?
Hi can i ask if the wheat grain or barley seeds that you can buy in animal feed store safe for wheat grass and barley grass planting? Im planning to juice it for human consumption.. thank you
That’s a question to ask your feed store.
NOTE TO ANYONE: Don’t by the rolled oats. It’s not oatmeal oats. Hope the goats like ’em….50 lbs later…
One more thing… anyone know if the heirloom seed companies’ seeds are pre-treated??? That would be awful!
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!
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.
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!
Glad to be able to help, Michelle!! Sometimes you don’t know what you don’t know 🙂
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!
I wonder if you can still plant “feed” grain?
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 🙂
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!