Happy March,

It's finally starting to feel like spring in Iowa, looks like we might get out and frost seed red clover and plant some oats soon! Remember to count your oat, wheat or barley seed so you can get an accurate planting population -- would you ever plant your corn at "half a bushel to the acre"? No! So treat your small grains with the same precision. This video is a great resource on calculating your plant population and calibrating your drill to get you there.

On Tuesday, March 12 I asked 2018 and 2019 cost share participants to join me for a closed webinar. If you missed my emails about that, please get in touch with me so I can get you the recorded version to watch.

April 5 Call on Scouting and Treating Disease in Small Grains
A key aspect of producing small grains that achieve market quality for test weight or germination is managing disease appropriately in your small grains. Dr. Emmanuel Byamukama, a small grains plant pathologist from South Dakota State, will join us on April 5 from noon - 1 p.m. to discuss the year of disease management for small grains including when to scout, what to look for, what the key windows are for fungicide application and which fungicide applications have a positive return on investment.

This call will be held from noon to 1 pm on Friday April 5. To join dial 641-715-3620 and enter passcode 357330# when prompted.
Blog Online from Call on Estimating Nitrogen from a Legume Cover Crop or Mix Going to Corn
This blog summarizes our March shared learning call where we hosted two cost share farmers who discussed their cover crop planted in 2017 and how they accounted for the nitrogen it generated in order to reduce their nitrogen application to corn in 2018. Our guests, Jeremy Gustafson who farms near Boone, IA and Daryl DeGroot who farms near Hull, IA shared their experiences with cover crop mixes and a straight underseeding of alfalfa or clover and how they accounted for the nitrogen it produced in order to reduce N applications to their 2018 corn.
Apply for EQIP About Six Months Ahead of Small Grain Planting
Last year I ran out of cost share pretty quickly, so if you're looking at getting some cost share for small grains in 2020 and want to hedge your bets by applying to multiple cost share sources - it's time to start the process of applying for NRCS EQIP funding, particularly if you're planning to plant a winter small grain in fall of 2019.

In this blog I describe how you can enroll in both practice 328 and 340 in order to achieve a competitive payment rate for the same practices PFI cost share covers. The application deadlines are different for each state (see this recent release on Illinois deadlines) but every state should be able to use the practices as described in the blog. Contact your local NRCS office for specific application and eligibility questions.
PFI Shared Learning Call: Small Grain Economics
April 5, 2019, Noon - 1 p.m. | 641-715-3620, passcode 357330#

March 26, 2019, 8:30 a.m. - 4 p.m. | Kehoe Center, 19 E State St, Shelby, OH

April 3, 2019, 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. | 6100 Basil Western Road, Carroll, OH

Practical Farmers of Iowa Small Grains Conference 2019
August 15-16, 2019 | Wisconsin Dells, WI
Time to Frost Seed!
If you have winter small grains and want to establish an underseeding of clover to provide a cover crop after harvest, now is the time to get in the field and start seeding. Read up on these great frost seeding resources for nuts and bolts:

  1. Frost seeding call blog.
  2. This blog feature on frost seeding master Doug Alert, which contains a great list with links to all of PFI's research reports on green manures after small grains
Achieving Desired Plant Populations
Calibrating your grain drill is a key piece of controlling costs and maximizing yield in the small grain year. Here are some resources about how to calibrate your grain drill for small grains:

  1. The drill calibration and plant population episode of our rotationally raised video series.
  2. The planting rates short from our rotationally raised video series.
Seed to Soil Contact
Small grains are big babies when it comes to coping with uneven planting depths. Make sure you're set up for success through seed bed prep or appropriate no-till equipment.

  1. Episode 5 of our rotationally raised video series focuses on seed bed preparation and achieving target population and stand for small grains.
Be Ready to Fertilize
The optimal time to apply fertilizer to small grains to avoid lodging is before planting or shortly after. Make sure you're ready to apply fertilizer at the right time.
  1. The fertilizing small grains short from our rotationally raised video series.
  2. The blog from March 2017's shared learning call with agronomists on optimal fertilizer strategies.
  3. The blog from June 2017's shared learning call on Mark Ditlevson's fertilizer timing and rates.
  4. University of Minnesota's oat fertilizer recommendations.
Looking for more? Contact us today!
Alisha Bower
Strategic Initiatives Manager
(515) 232-5661
Sarah Carlson
Strategic Initiatives Director
(515) 232-5661
Celize Christy
Swine and Poultry Coordinator