Published Feb 21, 2019

Rotationally Raised, Episode 003: What to Plant, Where and Why

By Practical Farmers of Iowa

Once you decide to grow small grains on your farm, you have a few decisions to make: what species will I grow?  Oats, wheat, barley, rye, triticale? And how should they fit into your rotation? Should they follow corn or soybeans? And once I choose a small grain, what variety should I grow? In this episode of Rotationally Raised, “What to Plant: Where and Why” we hear from PFI members around the state on how small grains fit into their crop rotation and how to choose a variety that works for your farm.

Variety Selection Resources

When it comes to choosing an oat variety, Practical Farmers has been working with Iowa State University for the last couple years to test oat varieties in northern Iowa. You can see those results in this research report and also, check out a blog from Sarah Carlson discussing those results. When it comes to other small grains, you’ll need to go out of the state to find variety trials, and we’ve compiled those results from nearby states as well.

Practical Farmers has been working with a group of farmers and small grains buyers throughout Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin to improve the logistics of small grains production and marketing in the Midwest. As part of that, the growers who are participating in the project take part in a monthly phone call. Mac Ehrhardt of Albert Lea Seeds in Minnesota, answered farmers’ questions about selecting a small grain variety. You can check out a blog about this call from our Strategic Initiatives Manager, Alisha Bower, who is working on this project with Sarah Carlson.

For more information on this pilot project, contact Alisha or Sarah at or

To learn more about small grains production in Iowa, check out Practical Farmers of Iowa’s small grains page. There, you can find research reports, production manuals, articles, blogs, conference presentations and more.

Watch the video version of this podcast

Previous Episode 002: Freedom From Inputs

Next Episode 004: Planting I, Calibrate to Populate