Small Grains in Northeast Iowa

A recent article in the Iowa Farmer Today provided information from the August, 2016 small grain workshop that was held in Waukon.  Presenters at the workshop were Sara Berges from the Allamakee SWCD, Eric DeBlieck from Grain Millers, Lora Friest from the Northeast Iowa RC&D, Stefan Gailans from Practical Farmers of Iowa, and Earl Canfield, a farmer from Dunkerton.

With the low commodity prices, now may be a good time to include small grains in your rotation due to their low input costs.  Depending on what small grain you would grow, there are different potential markets.  Of all the small grains, oats are the most likely to be grown for food-grade in this part of Iowa.  Of course, oats could also be feed or cover crop seed.  Rye would most likely be grown for cover crop seed.  With the recent surge in interest in rye cover crop, there is likely a good demand for this product.

Small grains have many benefits including breaking up pest and weed cycles, having reduced fertilizer needs, and adding diversity to the soil biology.  Since they are cool-season grasses, they are growing earlier in the spring and help protect the soil from erosion.  They also allow cover crops to be planted earlier in the year, with the added potential to graze the cover crops in the fall.  For more information about small grains, refer to the Small Grains Page.