April showers bring May flowers and (hopefully) for those of us in dry areas, soil moisture! As we patiently wait for corn and soybean planting season, it's important to remember how extended rotations help reduce costs. A recent article by Iowa State Extension highlighted that increases in nitrogen fertilizer prices are outpacing those in corn prices. Adding a small grain crop to your corn-soybean rotation can lower input costs, while growing biological sources of N, such as legumes, can cut fertilizer costs for the following year.

If you haven't already applied, small grain cost share is still available. Contact with cost share questions

Happy planting,
The Strategic Initiatives Team
This summer we will host a series of small, energizing, in-person gatherings on farms across Iowa.

We’re starting the planning, and the line-up will expand on a rolling basis throughout the summer as more pop-up, local events are organized. Fill out this form to let us know your interests and availability.
Doug Alert and Margaret Smith of Hampton, IA typically co-seed oats with a red clover cover underseeding in their organic production system. Concerned about weed control, they were curious to learn if early mechanical weeding of the oats would have any effect on oat yield, intercropped red clover and weed pressure. They originally intended to trial tine weeding the oats, but found that rotary hoeing handled soybean residue better.

Alert and Smith recorded equal oat yields and observed no visual difference in weed pressure between the rotary hoe treatment and the control. They observed better clover establishment with the co-seeding. Rotary hoeing twice and broadcast-seeding the red clover (rather than co-seeding with the oats) cost $32.80/ac more than their typical practice. Read the full report here.
Clovers that winterkill can be easier to manage in the spring, but do they provide the same benefits?

Dick Sloan of Rowley, IA wanted to compare corn yield and profitability between two green manure mixes – one that overwinters (medium red/alsike clover) and one that winterkills (crimson/berseem clover). He found that the overwinter mix generated more fall biomass and total N than the winterkill mix, and that corn in the overwinter strips out-yielded the winterkill strips. You can learn more about Dick's research and results here.
(No shared learning call in April)

April 20 | 7:30 a.m. CT | Online

April 21 | 12:00 p.m. CT | Online

(No shared learning call in May)

May 11 | 8:55 a.m. –5:15 p.m. CT | Online
Terminating clover
Clover in corn can be more of a pest than an asset. Do you have a clover termination plan? This January 2020 blog post highlights mechanical and chemical termination options.
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 by referencing the following resources:

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