Happy September!

We're talking all things winter small grains in this issue since it is nearly time to start seeding. We have a first look at the results from our 2021 rye variety trials as well as information on seeding rates, dates and crop insurance.

Don't forget to reserve cost share for your winter small grain acres or any corn acres following your 2021 small grain where you plan on reducing nitrogen fertilizer rates - we have two programs for crops in extended rotations in 2022.

Good luck getting your winter small grain crop in,
The Strategic Initiatives Team
In 2021, PFI trialed nine rye varieties on four Iowa State University research farms. Across all farms and varieties, the average yield was 65.3 bushels per acre. Hybrid varieties, Bono, Brasetto and Serafino, had the highest yields at each site. Hazlet and Danko were the top yielding open-pollinated varieties at each site.

Germination results are pending, but preliminary numbers are above 90%, reinforcing that Iowa grown rye is a great option for cover crop seed.

A full report will be published within the next couple of weeks, but take a look at this preliminary report with yields, plant height, and test weight of all the varieties at each site.
Since last month, over 60 growers have signed up for cost share for extended rotations. Remember - you may sign up for cost share for small grains with a legume cover crop OR corn that follows your 2021 small grain crop - or both!

Cost share for either program is capped at 200 acres per farmer and runs at $15 per acre. Growers in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska and Wisconsin are eligible. Check out our flyer to learn more.
Rye seed differs in size depending on the variety. For example, the varieties for our 2022 trial range from 12,830 to 22,670 seeds per pound. That's a big difference! To get to a target population of 1.1 million seeds per acre, seeding rates can vary from 54 to 95 pounds per acre.

Curious how to calculate the seeding rate of your rye? Check out this blog for a how-to-guide.
Optimal timing for seeding winter small grains ranges from late September to early October. For wheat especially, planting too late can decrease winter survivability.

Don't think you'll get your small grains planted until late October? Fear not! There are things you can do to help mitigate yield loss.
Winter small grains crop insurance deadline is September 30
If you're planning on insuring your winter small grains, make sure you enroll your acres by September 30. Don't know what kinds of small grain crop insurance policies are available in your county? Check out the "Commodity Programs" tab of this interactive map from RMA.

If there are no crop insurance policies for winter small grains in your county you can still get a custom policy so long as you have three years' worth of production information. Check out this blog to learn more. PFI can write letters of support for growing and marketing small grains in your area - contact Lydia English lydia@practicalfarmers.org to learn more.
We waited out the rain in Brandon, Wisconsin to talk with Josh Hiemstra and Becky Wagner about all things forages on Josh's farm. Josh grows a cocktail mix after wheat that he mechanically harvests and is experimenting with co-seeding clover and alfalfa into in silage corn.
Saturday, September 25 | 7:30 p.m. CT
Lauridsen Amphitheater at the Des Moines Water Works Park

Join Practical Farmers of Iowa for a free outdoor screening and panel discussion of “Livestock on the Land,” a feature-length documentary that tells the story of regenerative grazing and its promise for the Iowa landscape.

All times listed are in central daylight time.

Hosted by: Fulton County (IN) and Pulaski County (IN) SWCD
September 23 | 4 - 7 p.m. | Akron, IN

Hosted by: Cody Creech & University of Nebraska - Lincoln
September 24 | 3:30 - 4:30 p.m. | Online

September 29 | 10 a.m. - Noon | Shelby County, IA

***No shared learning call in October - good luck with harvest!***

Do you adjust your small grain seeding rate from year-to-year?
Yes, based on variety, seeding method and/or seeding date
Not yet, but I'm curious to try
Nope, I stick with the same rate each year
Previous poll results:
In a year that was too hot and dry for many, how was your small grain yield and test weight?
  • Better than expected - 61.1%
  • Worse than usual - 27.8%
  • About the same as usual - 11.1% 
Send us your small grain poll ideas! We want to know what YOU want to know. Reply to this email with your ideas for the next poll.
Looking for more? Contact us today!
Rebecca Clay
Strategic Initiatives Agronomy Coordinator
(515) 232-5661
Sarah Carlson
Strategic Initiatives Director
(515) 232-5661
Lydia English
Strategic Initiatives Coordinator
(515) 232-5661