I feel like we're having deja vu with fall this year and once again we are running out of time for optimum establishment of our winter small grain crops. Remember, if you're planting yet this October, to increase your seeding rate from 23 plants per square foot up to 25 plants per square foot. I've included some more in depth resources on late seeding below.

We are also excited to announce that Smithfield and PFI will be piloting a program to purchase 2020 wheat and oats at their grain elevators in Allerton and Davis City in Southern Iowa. Farmers in Iowa can pair contracts for their grain with the cost share to establish a cover crop after wheat or oats. Read more about this program below.

Happy Harvest,

Smithfield Pilot to Buy 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.

For questions regarding grain contracts and prices, contact Erin Holt at (660) 748-7270 or eholt@smithfield.com. For questions about small grain production, cover crops or cost share contact Alisha Bower at (515) 232-5661 or alisha@practicalfarmers.org
Late Seeding for Winter Small Grains
Optimum seeding date for winter small grains like cereal rye, winter wheat and triticale is by about October 10 in the northern corn belt, but many corn and soybean crops still haven't been harvested this year due to high moisture -- how much yield are you losing by planting late? What are the best practices to mitigate the late planting date? You can read  the full blog on this topic, but here are the quick notes:

  1. If it's planted by November 1, you'll still be at 70% or better yield potential - after November 1 yield potential drops to 50% quickly
  2. If you haven't planted yet, you should increase your seeding rate to 25 plants per square foot for winter small grains
  3. Apply 20-40 lbs of N and 20 lbs of P before or at planting
Apply Now for 2020 Small Grain Cost Share
Farmers in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin are invited to apply for cost share on small grains harvested in 2020 and followed by a legume-containing cover crop. Small grains include barley, oats, rye, triticale or wheat and a legume cover crop could be under- or co-seeded clover or alfalfa or a summer planted cover that includes hairy vetch or field peas.

PFI will pay $25 per acre cost share on up to 100 acres for this combination of main crop and cover crop on conventional or transition to organic acres. Certified organic acres are not eligible. Acres are assigned on a first-come, first-serve basis. Reserve your acres on our small grains cost share page .
** No shared learning call in November**

December 12-13, 2019 | Grand Forks, ND

January 16-18, 2020 | Ames, IA

January 24-25, 2020 | Madison, WI

January 30, 2020 | Mt. Vernon, IL
Winter Small Grain Variety Selection
Still unsure which small grain is right for you? Here are some resources:
Planting Winter Small Grains
Though it's a busy time of the year in October, don't forget to plan for a precise plant population, calibrate your drill and prepare your seed bed for establishing a good stand of your winter small grain.
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