Registration for the 2020 small grains conference is now open! Check out the full line-up of sessions and register on the small grains conference page. Some important dates to keep in mind:

  • The block of rooms at the conference hotel will expire on February 12
  • Pre-registration deadline is February 28
  • The conference will be held from Noon on March 4 to 12:30 p.m. on March 5

In addition to getting your seed selected and lined up for planting, this winter season is a great time to do some market research and set up contracts for your small grain crops. I've included some resources below on marketing -- read on!

Stay Warm,

February 7 Call will be on Small Grains Fertility
Understanding small grain fertility needs and providing the necessary nutrients at the right time of the year is important to achieving a profitable small grain crop. Dr. Dave Franzen is the Extension Soil Specialist at North Dakota State University and will join us to share his expertise on fertility for maximum return on investment in small grain crops. His talk will address N, P, K and other nutrient needs for wheat and other small grain crops and his research and experience on response to timing and type of fertilizer or manure products.

The call will be held from noon to 1 p.m. on Friday, February 7. To join dial 605-313-5784 and enter passcode 239000# when prompted.
Blog Online from Learning Call on Clover Cover Crop Management
Clover is sometimes referred to as the "Cadillac" of cover crops - it's more expensive, but also provides sophisticated benefits. This blog summarizes the information about clover management that Kevin Shelley, Farm Nutrient and Cover Crops Specialist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, presented on our January shared learning call. The blog covers clover establishment, management, termination and N credits to a following corn crop.
Oatly Program Seeks More Oat Growers in N. Iowa and S. Minnesota
Oatly is increasing growers/acres in their program to source US grown oats in 2020 from farmers using cover crops and extended rotation best practices.  Participating farmers would receive forward contracts on their oats and cost share through PFI at $25/acre. Farmers are required to frost seed a clover or other legume cover crop into their oats or apply for a livestock exception to plant a diverse summer mix if livestock will graze the field. Program participation also includes guaranteed contract offers for three years (2020-2022) and assistance from Grain Millers in marketing oats that don't make grade.

If you're interested in participating contact Alisha Bower at  alisha@practicalfarmers.org or (515) 232-5661 to talk through program requirements and eligibility.
Smithfield Bids for Wheat and Oats in Southern Iowa
Farmers in Southern Iowa will now have a new market option for wheat and oats. In partnership with Practical Farmers,  Smithfield grain elevators in Allerton and Davis City, Iowa will be offering contracting options for wheat and oats.These contracts can be paired with PFI's 2020 cost share program as long as the small grain crop is followed by a cover crop that contains at least one legume species. Learn more about the program here.

Questions? Contact Alisha Bower at (515) 232-5661 or alisha@practicalfarmers.org
January 24-25, 2020 | Madison, WI

January 30, 2020 | Mt. Vernon, IL

February 4-5, 2020 | Champaign, IL

February 5, 2020 | Grand Forks, ND

February 6, 2020 | Moorhead, MN

February 17, 2020 | Rochester, MN

February 18, 2020 | Le Center, MN

February 19, 2020 | Cold Spring, MN

February 19, 2020 | Mora, MN

February 19-20, 2020 | West Lafayette, IN

February 20, 2020 | Stevens Point, WI

February 20, 2020 | Granite Falls, MN

February 20, 2020 | Slayton, MN

February 21, 2020 | Benson, MN

March 4-5, 2019 | Springfield, IL
Spring Small Grain Variety Selection
Still unsure which small grain is right for you? Here are some resources:
Small Grain Marketing
January is the time to secure contracts for your next year's small grains. This requires a bit of leg work since many buyers don't list their bid prices online. Here are some resources we've produced to help navigate the process of scoping out markets for your small grains:
Apply for Cost Share Assistance

Winter is a great time to look into programs that support growing small grains in extended rotations. Here are some resources:
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