Search for “small grains”
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Organic hogs typically grow slower
and are less efficient than conventional
hogs. High-fiber diets high in small
grains are common in organic production
but may be less efficient compared
to corn-soybean diets.
• Tom Frantzen and family fed groups of
similar hogs either an organic cornbased
diet or a small grain diet where
succotash replaced corn.
• Small grain-fed hogs grew less quickly
and efficiently, but carcass price per lb
was similar between diet groups, and
feed price per lb was less for the small
• Feed consumption and cost was
greater for small grain-fed hogs, while
weight gain was lower.
• Small grain-fed hog carcasses were
slightly smaller but of comparable
quality to corn-fed hog carcasses.
• Hog feed is a viable use for small
grains produced in organic crop rotations,
as it is low-cost and produces
comparable finished carcasses to cornfed
December 8, 2014
March 3, 2012
Extending and diversifying a crop rotation
to include a small grain presents
farmers with the opportunity to also
include green manure cover crops.
• Three farmer-cooperators grew a small
grain + red clover and a small grain +
cover crop mix preceding corn in their
• Red clover frost-seeded with the small
grain put on more aboveground biomass
and contained more N than the
cover crop mix seeded after small grain
harvest on one farm.
• Corn yields following red clover were
greater than those following the cover
crop mix at only one farm.
• If sufficiently terminated, red clover and
the cover crop mix preceding corn in
rotation can result in yields comparable
to county yield averages.
December 5, 2014
In a Nutshell
• Extending and diversifying a crop
rotation to include a small grain
presents farmers with the opportunity
to generate biological soil nitrogen
using forage legume (green manure)
cover crops seeded in the spring and
• Farmer-cooperator, Dick Sloan grew
corn following red clover that was
frost-seeded into a cereal rye seed crop
and also after a mix of forage legumes
and other species established midsummer
after the cereal rye seed crop
• In his second iteration of investigating
these cropping systems, Dick improved
his corn yields from the first time he
tried this system in 2014.
• In 2015, corn that followed red clover
out-yielded corn that followed the mix.
• Net returns were approximately $95
greater per acre when corn followed
red clover compared to the mix.
December 2, 2015
fit into extended and diversified
crop rotations between the
small grain and corn phases of
the rotation. They can either be
underseeded with a small grain
crops in early spring or planted
in the summer following small
• Farmer-cooperators Doug
Alert & Margaret Smith and
Vic Madsen compared corn
following two green manure
strategies: red clover or alfalfa
underseeded with oats (US) vs. a
mix of sunn hemp, sweet clover,
red clover and radish planted in
mid-summer after oat harvest
• Weed biomass in oats in mid-July
was no different with or without
the underseeding at both farms.
• By mid-October 2016, the US
(red clover) produced more
aboverground biomass than
the MSS by almost 1,000 lb/ac
at Alert/Smith’s. The opposite
was true at Madsen’s: the MSS
produced more biomass than the
US (alfalfa) by approx. 800 lb/ac.
• Corn yields were no different
between the two green manure
treatments at both farms.
January 17, 2018
In a Nutshell
• Small grain crops, like oats, are seeing
renewed interest by farmers in Iowa.
Iowa was once a nationwide leader
in oats production, but many farm
families have not grown them for a
generation or two.
• 15 oat varieties were screened at two
Iowa State University research farms
and one commercial farm.
• Top yield performers differed at each
• Antigo had the highest test weight at
each location (≥38 lb/bu) but was also
among the lowest yielding varieties.
Reins scored a test weight of 38 lb/bu
• Application of fungicide did not improve
yield or test weight for the four
varieties tested at Nashua.
October 16, 2017
Various green manure cover crop
mixes can successfully be established
following the harvest of a small grain
crop in mid-summer.
• Following cereal rye seed harvest
in July 2015, farmer-cooperator Tim
Sieren seeded a brassica mix into one
field and a legume mix into another
field. He then compared 2016 corn
yields resulting from a Low and High N
fertilizer rate that followed the green
manure mixes in the separate fields.
• Regardless of the green manure mix it
followed, corn yields were significantly
greater with the 145 lb N/ac (High) rate
compared to the 95 lb N/ac (Low) rate.
• Wet summer months likely contributed
to the superiority of the High N rate
in terms of both yield and financial
returns in 2016.
November 18, 2016
• Two farmers tested Spray strips and
No-Spray control strips of cereal rye for
• This project was a secondary project
within “Fungicide and Plant Growth
Regulator Effect on Cereal Rye
Production” (Gailans et al., 2016).
• At Sieren’s farm, no propiconazole
residue was found above the
detectable limit of 0.05 ppm in No-
Spray control strips.
• At Sloan’s farm, metconazole residues
of 0.02 ppm were found in both control
strip samples, compared to the 1.30
ppm baseline residue level in the
October 20, 2016