With corn and soy prices low, some farmers are thinking about how they can cut costs to protect their bottom line. Growing cereal rye for seed is typically cheaper than purchasing cover crop seed, so growing out your overwintered cover crop may be a good cost-cutting option.
Tim Sieren of Keota began growing cereal rye for seed and ryelage years ago. Tim took time out of his busy planting preparation to discuss how someone could pivot their rye cover crop to seed for the following year. He three tips are:
Don’t neglect the rye crop. “The best thing about growing small grains is the low input costs. You’ve already paid for the cereal rye seed. Corn/soy inputs might cost you $300 per acre; you can save on small grains. But you’ll be in a better place if you think about adding some fungicide to prevent head scab (fusarium) and maybe some growth regulator to prevent lodging,” Tim says.
Think about how you’ll harvest and store the seed. While Tim has a combine appropriate for harvesting small grains, he says, “Most of the combines today are too big to harvest small grains. But maybe someone in your neighborhood would have an old combine that might work,” Tim advises. “Make sure you have a bin with a solid floor and aeration to cool down the rye.”
“Everyone has a field somewhere where you can try out a small grain. Why not?” Tim says.