Published Nov 29, 2018

Where to Begin With Winter Wheat Production

By Practical Farmers of Iowa

There are many benefits to adding a small-grain crop to a corn and bean rotation, including breaking pest cycles and allowing for a longer cover crop season, which leads to reduced chemical inputs. Unfortunately, the barriers to growing small grains are as numerous as the benefits. Kristy and Bob Walker are looking to add winter wheat to their diversified farm operation, but have struggled to get started. Paul Ackley has been growing small grains like winter wheat for many years. He will discuss why and offer some advice for the Walkers to get started.


Kristy and Bob Walker started Walker Homestead near Iowa City in 2013, which includes an organic market garden, an orchard and vineyard, pasture and crop ground and a small venue. They’re hoping to add winter wheat to their crop ground to help improve soil health, feed their livestock and use for baking at their winery.

Paul Ackley and his wife, Nancy, run an integrated farm near Bedford raising corn, soybeans, wheat, cattle and hair sheep. Paul says having a small-grain in their rotation helps to regenerate their soil, reduce inputs, spread out the labor and provide wildlife habitat.