Winter cereal rye: An economical way to add a third crop? Learn more at a Practical Farmers field day – June 10, in Keota – RSVPs requested

For Release: May 23, 2014

KEOTA, Iowa — Are you curious about adding a third crop to your farm, but unsure if the investment will fit in with your farm budget? Row-crop farmer Tim Sieren has the same concern, and is participating in a Practical Farmers of Iowa on-farm research project to find out if extending his crop rotation will be cost-effective.

Tim and his wife Ethel raise corn and soybeans in a three-year rotation with rye, as well as livestock, at Green Iron Farms near Keota. They are in the second year of a multi-year on-farm research project looking at the agronomic benefits as well as economics of adding winter cereal rye. Tim and Ethel will share the details of their operation and on-farm research at a Practical Farmers of Iowa field day on Tuesday, June 10, from 5-8 p.m., near Keota. The farm is located at 1320 Highway 92, about 6 miles southeast of Keota.

The event – “Winter Cereal Rye for Cover and Cash Grain” – is free to attend and will include supper after the demonstrations. RSVPs are requested for the meal. Please reply to Lauren Zastrow at (515) 232-5661 or by Friday, June 6. The field day is sponsored by eMerge Genetics and Washington County Soil and Water Conservation District.

Participants will get to tour the farm, learn about extended crop rotations and cover crops, and hear Tim speak about how he came to use a three-year crop rotation consisting of corn, soybeans and rye – as well as how he raises his own cover crop seed. Tim will also discuss his on-farm research project, which compares corn yield following red clover versus fertilizer nitrogen.

Red clover can provide large amounts of nitrogen in addition to soil health benefits. It can also dramatically reduce fertilizer expenses that farmers pay to grow corn. Tim will use his rye crop to start the red clover and then in strips with no red clover use nitrogen fertilizer as a comparison. A research report on the project will be released following harvest of 2014.

The project is being conducted through Practical Farmers of Iowa’s on-farm research Cooperators’ Program. Stefan Gailans, the PFI staff member who coordinates the program, will be on hand to answer questions about the project. Machinery used for this system will also be on display at the field day.

“Probably the most important question I have that pretty well sums up the whole project is: How can I reap the agronomic benefits of cereal rye, while making it an economical third crop in a corn-soybean rotation?” Tim says. “That’s my main goal with this project. I’m hoping Practical Farmers can help me put some profitable numbers on it to make it a viable three-crop rotation.”

Directions: Green Iron Farms is located 3 miles west of West Chester on State Highway 92 or 4 miles east of the junction of State Highway 77 and Hwy 92. The farm is on the north side of Hwy 92.

Practical Farmers of Iowa’s 2014 field day season features 35 field days around Iowa. All field days are open to the public, and most are free to attend. The guide is currently available on Practical Farmers’ website, and will be available in print at the end of May. Contact the office at (515) 232-5661 to request a copy.


Founded in 1985, Practical Farmers of Iowa is an open, supportive and diverse organization of farmers and friends of farmers, advancing profitable, ecologically sound and community-enhancing approaches to agriculture through farmer-to-farmer networking, farmer-led investigation and information sharing. Farmers in our network produce corn, soybeans, beef cattle, hay, fruits and vegetables, and more. For additional information, call (515) 232-5661 or visit



Tim Sieren | Green Iron Farms | (319) 698-4042 |

Tamsyn Jones | Practical Farmers of Iowa | (515) 232-5661 |