We're doing a deep dive into variety trial information for our November issue. While it might seem like overkill, choosing a small grain variety that can deliver on performance goals can make or break a successful crop year. Don't know where to start with choosing a variety? Fear not! We've compiled lots of resources to help guide you.

Practical Farmer's winter event season has started and we have a great mix or virtual and in-person programming. Don't miss out on our Shared Learning Call series or the Cover Crop Boot Camp. More information below!

Wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving,
The Strategic Initiatives Team
Friday, December 3 | Noon - 1 p.m. CT

Small grain prices are looking good, but marketing isn't as easy as with corn and soybeans. On our December shared learning call hear from Mike Schulist as he describes common challenges and opportunities for marketing small grains like oats and wheat for food and feed markets. 

Mike is the marketer for NF Organics and the organic grain program manager at National Farmers Organization. He has been helping farmers market their organic grain for 14 years.

Come with your marketing questions! There will be information for both organic and conventional growers.
New! We'll be convening on Zoom
To join by computer: click
To join by phone: dial +1-312-626-6799 and enter meeting ID 836 3216 7882 followed by #
On November 5 we gathered for the first of our winter shared learning call series and heard from Matt Miller and Lydia English about considerations for oat variety selection.

Matt consistently grows two oat varieties to spread risk and ensure a successful crop each year. To aid in variety selection, Lydia shared PFI's selector tool, which predicts variety performance given a growers' ZIP code.

Read all about Matt's process for choosing an oat variety as well as some general tips for starting out on the right foot this spring.
This is the second year that five PFI cooperators put our selector tool to the test! Each cooperator compared their traditional oat variety with a variety predicted to do well by the genotype-by-environment model that powers the tool.

Once again, the results were a mixed bag. Four of the five cooperators chose Reins as their traditional variety and it performed well. Read the full research report.
Farmers in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska and Wisconsin with conventional or transition-to-organic small grain acres are eligible for cost share of $15 per acre when they follow their small grain with a legume cover crop. On top of that, we have additional cost share for taking a nitrogen fertilizer credit in corn that follows a small grain in an extended rotation.

Variety selection round up
Hungry for even more information on variety selection? Look no further!

Join Practical Farmers of Iowa for the Cover Crop Boot Camp, Tuesday, Nov. 30, 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. in Ankeny, IA. We'll hear from fellow farmers about cutting nitrogen with legumes, growing your own cover crop seed, feeding ryelage and much more!

This event is free and includes lunch, but registration is required.
All times listed are in central daylight time

November 29 - 30 | Ankeny, IA

Hosted by: Iowa State Organic Agriculture Program
November 28 - 29 | Iowa City, IA


December 3 | Noon - 1 p.m. | Online

Hosted by: Albert Lea Seed
December 3 | 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. | Online

Hosted by: Soil Regen and Continuum Ag
December 6 - 7 | Riverside, IA


January 7 | Noon - 1 p.m. | Online
Do you find the selector tool a helpful resource?
Yes - please continue working on this!
Not really - I'd prefer a tool that just summarizes trial data (no predictions)
No - I don't find it very helpful
Previous poll results:
When do you terminate your overwintering legume cover crops (i.e. clover, vetch, alfalfa)?
  • Spring - 58%
  • Fall - 21 %
  • A mix of both - 21% 
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