Rotating into small grains

Rotating into small grains

Small grains — wheat, oats, and cereal rye — are emerging as another tool as farmers take on the challenge of improving water quality. But will adding small grains pencil out?

Alisha Bower, Midwest cover crop associate at Practical Farmers of Iowa (PFI), sees small grains as the next step beyond adopting cover crops.

Cover crops are the first step, where you’re not changing the cropping system, just adding usually a cool-season grass that will suck up the nitrogen and phosphorus in winter, Bower said. Adding  small grains has the potential to reduce nutrient losses during spring planting when a cover crop has been...

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