Years ago, thatching straw was the by-product of the cereal production e.g. wheat, rye and even oat straw has been used to thatch roofs. Wheat as the toughest (and probably longest lasting as often Winter sown) became the norm but now it is no longer a by-product. Modern cereals have been developed with short straw which is no good for thatching so it is the old varieties which have to be maintained to keep the availability of thatching straw going.
Especially grown seed
Thatching straw is therefore now especially grown as a product and the seed is kept for planting the next thatching straw crop. The varieties grown are older varieties e.g. Maris Widgeon.
Cut and Dried Sheaves
The crop is cut into sheaves and dried in the field as stooks, then the sheaves are collected and stored.
The stored sheaves are then threshed to remove the corn from the husks.
Combing and Trussing
Depending on the required product i.e. Combed Wheat Straw is combed and trussed, Longstraw is just trussed.
Final preparation for the Thatching
The thrashed straw is then further prepared to make the final bundles of Combed Wheat Straw and Longstraw ready for thatching.
More detail and some great pictures are available on our Straw Production and Harvest page .