On Monday, August 10, a rare and unusually powerful windstorm known as a derecho swept across the Midwest, causing widespread power outages; extensive damage to trees, power lines, crop fields, livestock, homes and buildings as it traversed six states and more than 700 miles including large swaths of Iowa, Illinois and Indiana. As you work to clean up and recover from the devastation, know that you are central in our thoughts. Please reach out to Practical Farmers of Iowa to let us know how you are doing, and what we can do to help.

Throughout the path of the storm, there was extensive damage to corn fields, but small grains were already safely harvested and stored or sold. Events like this further underline the need for more diversity of crops on our landscape to better insure farmer income and resilience in the face of extreme weather events. To continue to do our part in supporting this diverse landscape, we are now taking applications for 2021 small grains cost share. Read on for more details on the cost share and instructions on how to sign up.

In solidarity,
Farmers in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, 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. Acres are assigned on a first-come, first-serve basis. Apply for cost share on our small grains cost share page.
Call September 4 on Crop Insurance for Small Grains
Natural disasters like last week’s derecho wind storm highlight the need for safety net mechanisms like crop insurance. However, it’s likely that your insurance agent isn’t as familiar with options for oats, rye and barley as they are for wheat, corn and soybeans.

On our September shared learning call we’ll hear from two officers at USDA’s Risk Management Agency on crop insurance options for these less common small-grain crops. Carly Krump will provide an overview of small grain crop insurance plans, options available to producers, how a loss works, and how to request a written agreement for an XC and requirements. Craig Christianson will provide background and pointers on another option, whole farm revenue protection, that may work better for your farm depending on how many crops and years of production history you have.

To join dial (605) 313-5784 and enter passcode 239000# on Friday, September 4 from 12:15-1:15 p.m.
On August 7 we gathered virtually to hear about how Tranel Family Farms uses small grain silage in their rotation to grow more forage for their dairy cows.

Josh Tranel was our guest; his presentation highlighted the total forage tonnage they achieve with a small grain rotation, the quality of small grain silages and timing small grain forage harvest to the nutritional needs of the animal group it would be fed to. Read all about Josh’s playbook for growing more forage per acre, more cheaply with small grains.
Seeking Winter Wheat Growers for Variety
Selector Tool Trial
In 2018, Practical Farmers of Iowa and University researchers from across the Upper Midwest secured a grant to build a “selector tool” that will assist farmers in choosing varieties of oats and winter wheat for their farms. This selector tool is powered by a genetics by environment model that can predict the yield performance of oat and winter wheat varieties across the Midwest. In order to strengthen the efficacy of this selector tool, we’re looking for farmers in Illinois, Indiana, southern Wisconsin, or southern Michigan to plant a soft red winter wheat variety trial this fall.

Farmers will plant their traditional soft red winter wheat variety (or a variety selected using traditional methods) alongside the model predicted variety. You will be compensated for your participation. If you're interested in testing soft red winter wheat varieties for the selector tool or learning more about this project contact

Virtual Field Day: Clark Farms Deconstructed
Aug. 28 7 a.m. - 1 p.m. | Online

Shared Learning Call: Crop Insurance for Small Grains
Sept. 4, 12:15 – 1:15 p.m. | Practical Farmers of Iowa
To join, dial (605) 313-5784 and enter passcode 239000#

Virtual Seminar: September Marketing Seminar
Sept. 16, 4 – 7 p.m. | Minnesota Association of Wheat Growers

Dec. 9-10 | Grand Forks, ND
Harvest and Post-Harvest Handling
Harvest and post harvest handling are crucial to maintaining quality in your small grains. Check out these resources on how:

If you don't already have a market lined up for your grain, here are some resources on identifying a market that lines up with the grain quality you've achieved with your crop:

And don't forget about straw!
Time to Think about Planting Winter Small Grains
Planting season is fast approaching. It's time to start thinking about selecting and ordering your seed and preparing your equipment. Still unsure which small grain is right for you? 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