The 2021 small grains cost share sign-up is still open! Sign-up has been open since September, 2020, and if you already enrolled there no need to enroll again. If you are now adding spring small grains to your farm and have NOT enrolled in our small grain cost share please do so now! Cost share is assigned on a first-come, first-served basis, and acres are limited.

The 2021 Practical Farmers Annual Conference is in full swing, but you can still join us for the remaining sessions through Saturday evening. We'd love for you to join us even if just for one session.

Be well,
The Strategic Initiatives Team
Farmers in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio and Wisconsin are invited to apply for cost share on small grains harvested in 2021 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 $15 per acre cost share on up to 200 acres for this combination of main crop and cover crop. We also have a growing number of programs that link this cost share with a market opportunity for a small-grain crop that you may qualify for based on your location and production practices.
Fusarium head blight, also known as scab, has the potential to decrease yield and lower test weight of small grain crops. But with intentional management, producers can reduce the risk of crop damage by fusarium.

On our February call, we’ll hear from Jochum Wiersma, a small grains specialist and extension professor at University of Minnesota, on fusarium management.

Call in on February 5 at 12:15 p.m. to hear Jochum speak about reducing impact of fusarium head blight, including variety selection, disease identification, cultural management and management with fungicides.

To join dial (605) 313-5784 and enter passcode 239000# when prompted.
Earlier this month, Bill Frederick of Jefferson, shared some of the lessons he has learned while expanding Iowa Cover Crop's seed cleaning capacity.

Read about the various seed cleaning set-ups Bill has had, and his tips for seed cleaning in this blog.
Since 2018, PFI has worked with plant breeders to develop models to predict small grain performance in localized environments. These models power a “selector tool” that will assist farmers in choosing varieties suited to their location and end market. But all models need calibration, so in 2020, five Iowa growers tested the efficacy of this selector tool by growing their typical oat variety alongside a variety predicted to do well by the model.

Check out the research report to see how the varieties stacked up (Hint: it varied by farm). 
Test oat varieties on your farm in 2021
PFI is looking to continue to calibrate our small grain selector tool and is seeking Iowa farmers to perform an on-farm trial in 2021.

Participants will plant their typical oat variety alongside a variety predicted to perform well by a genotype-by-environment model.

PFI will assist trial design and provide compensation. If you’re interested in participating or want to learn more, contact
February 5 | 12:15 - 1:15 p.m. CST | dial (605) 313-5784 and enter passcode 239000#

February 12 | 11:20 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. CST | Online

February 19 | Noon - 1:30 p.m. | Online
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:
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