Published Jan 26, 2016

Benefits of a Small Grain in Organic Rotations January 26 2016

By Practical Farmers of Iowa


George Schaefer farms in southeastern Iowa, where he uses oats in his organic crop rotation as both a grain crop and nurse crop for alfalfa and other legumes. George will discuss this rotation, and how having small grains in the rotation spreads the labor across the year. Erin Silva will discuss research results from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she serves as the organic and sustainable cropping systems specialist.

George Schaefer farms with his brother Steve near Kalona, Iowa. Their farm includes both conventional and organic practices, cover crops and a 140-head cow herd grazing on a rotational system. The Schaefers have been involved in a long-term cover crop research trial in partnership with Iowa Learning Farms and Practical Farmers of Iowa.

Erin Silva is an assistant professor with the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Department of Plant Pathology. Her program focuses broadly on organic agricultural production, including vegetables, row crops and pastures. Erin is a member of the Wisconsin Organic Advisory Council and is involved with organic agriculture at both the local and national levels.