Equipping farmers to build resilient farms and communities.
Ryan Tiefenthaler farms and operates Breda Ag Solutions in Breda, IA. His farm is a diversified operation producing corn, beans, cover crops, hogs and cattle. Ryan began experimenting with cereal rye and triticale as forage crops a few years ago. Now he raises seed and helps other farmers implement diverse silage systems like following triticale or rye with a summer forage crop. He has worked to develop a few cover crop programs for farmers who raise cattle in his area. "These programs are going to make a more digestible feedstuff with better protein and higher net revenue on the same acres compared to corn silage. It also spreads out the timeline and allows cattle producers to haul manure all summer long instead of having to store it and spread during the winter."

Start simple: To those new to feeding cover crops, Ryan recommends starting with the basics. "It doesn't have to be overly complicated." Take your first initial silage off of your corn crop, plant rye in early September and let it grow. Use it for ryelage in May and follow it up with an early hybrid of corn to make corn silage.

Ramp it up: Once comfortable with rye and triticale for silage, Ryan suggests following it with sudangrass or Japanese millet for wet feed.

Quality over quantity: Ryan advises harvesting earlier rather than later if raising cover crops for forage feeds. "The older the rye or triticale crop gets the more digestibility will decrease. Quality of the feed is better than the quantity of the feed. Don't wait longer for more tonnage."
The 2021 Fall Cover Crop Boot Camp will take place on Nov. 29 and 30 in Ankeny, IA. On the evening of Monday Nov. 29, we'll gather for a social and keynote at Uptown Garage Brewing.

Sessions on Tuesday, Nov. 30 will explore how farmers are using cover crops to reduce nitrogen and herbicide inputs, grow their own cover crop seed and integrate livestock with cover crops.
Even if you haven't been eligible for cover crop cost share in past years, you might be now! Click on the grain icons at this link to learn more about eligibility.

We still have acres available for most cost share programs; please share with neighbors and friends! We also have cost share for extended rotations.
The Iowa Seed Corn Cover Crop Initiative provides cost share for cover crops on seed corn production acres, with $10 to $20 per acre rates.

Growers can enroll up to 100% of their seed corn acres that aren't already in another state or federal cost-share program.

Read this Farm Progress article on how a Wisconsin dairy is utilizing rye and triticale as a feedstuff.

The cover crops help cheapen the feed bill while providing a quality ration to dairy heifers and lactating cows.
Cooperator Ben Albright of Lytton, IA explored how cover crops can play an important role in a feedlot ration and lower the winter feed bill.

Over three years an average of $3,851 was saved in TMR (Total Mixed Ration) per year. Read the full research report here.
All times are listed in central time.

Hosted by: Mark VanGessel, John Wallace & USDA- NRCS
November 23 | 1 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. | Online

Hosted by: Practical Farmers & Partners
November 29-30 | Ankeny, IA

Hosted by: Iowa State Organic Agriculture Program
November 28-29 | Iowa City, IA

Hosted by: ISU Extension
December 1-2 | Noon - 1 p.m. | Ames, IA

Hosted by: Mike Schulist & Practical Farmers
December 3 | Noon - 1 p.m. | Online

Hosted by: Soil Regen and Continuum Ag
December 6 - 7 | Riverside, IA

Hosted by: Iowa State Extension
December 7 | 9:30 a.m. - 2 p.m. | Sac City, IA

Hosted by: Iowa State Extension
December 8 | 9:30 a.m. - 2 p.m. | Pocahontas, IA

Hosted by: University of Minnesota
December 14-15 | Mankato, MN

Hosted by: University of Missouri
December 14 - 15 | 9:00 am - Noon | Online

Hosted by: Green Cover
December 15-16 | Iola, KS
Want to host a cover crop meet up? Contact Sarah Carlson if interested sarah@practicalfarmers.org
Are you planning or hosting a cover crop event? Send the details to rebecca@practicalfarmers.org, and we’ll include it in our next newsletter.
Send us your cover crop poll ideas! We want to know what YOU want to know. Reply to this email with your ideas for the next poll.
Have you used a small grain silage to replace corn silage in your feed ration?
Yes, I like the forage quality/added flexibility
I haven't tried it yet but am planning on it
No, I have not tried it
I don't use cover crops to feed livestock
Previous poll results:
What is your preferred method to learn about cover crops?
  • Talk to other farmers one-on-one - 31.8%
  • Attend field days and meetings like the boot camp and conference - 31.8%
  • Watch videos about cover crops online - 13.6%
  • Read about cover crops online - 13.6%
  • Read about cover crops in print - 9.1%
Sarah Carlson
Strategic Initiatives Director
(515) 232-5661
Chris Wilbeck
Independent Contractor
(515) 232-5661
Rebecca Clay
Strategic Initiatives Agronomy Coordinator
(515) 232-5661