Field day on grazing small grains and cover crops at the Bill Frederick farm – August 19, Jefferson

For Release: August 5, 2015

JEFFERSON, Iowa — For farmer Bill Frederick, small grains do more than extend his crop rotation: They help him tackle several farm management issues at once – as well as his bottom line. In addition to reducing erosion, improving water quality and building soil health, small grains help feed his cattle and extend the life of his pastures.

“We put our small grains adjacent to our pastures,” says Bill, who calves about 100 cows and feeds out 150 feeder calves annually. “We then harvest the small grains really early and reseed with a cover crop forage mix. Because the pasture and cover crop field are right next to each other, the cows can go back and forth as they want. It’s a cheaper feed source, and the cattle will be able to use it until winter kills off the cover crop.”

Bill will showcase how he pairs crop and livestock management at a Practical Farmers of Iowa field day he is hosting on Wednesday, August 19, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The event – “Crop Diversity and Grazing Livestock for Soil Health” – is free to attend, and will include a lunch featuring Niman Ranch brats and hot dogs. RSVPs are requested for the meal. Please contact Lauren Zastrow, or (515) 232-5661, by Friday, August 14.

The field day will take place at 2443-2499 Neola Ave. (state Route 4), about 11 miles south of Jefferson. (Note: This address is not Bill’s home farm. The event is focusing on a 14-acre field that was planted with rye, harvested and replanted with a forage mix. GPS coordinates are 41.867346, -94.367020).  The field day is sponsored by Greene County Soil and Water Conservation District and Niman Ranch.

Bill will discuss small grains production on his farm, which includes harvesting the grain for seed. He will also explain how he plants a diverse cover crop mix on his small grains field in order to provide a forage source for his cattle. Attendees will get to see cattle grazing on this mix – which includes oats, soybeans, forage kale and turnips; observe forage growth where the cattle have not yet grazed; and learn how this technique provides a rest for permanent pastures while extending the life of the pastures.

The field day will also feature Jefferson-area farmer Scott Shriver, who also grows small grains, and a demonstration of the Green County Soil and Water Conservation District’s mobile soil health unit – which is sure to spur a discussion on soils.

“I hope that people with livestock can see what we have done, and realize that cover crops allow for a viable third-crop option,” says Bill, who, in addition to livestock, also farms about 600 acres of crop ground.

Directions: From Jefferson, head about 10 miles south on state Route 4. The field is on the east side of the highway, one-half mile north of the Guthrie County line, between 330th and 340th streets.

Practical Farmers of Iowa’s 2015 field day season features 40 field days around Iowa. All field days are open to the public, and most are free to attend. The guide is available online at, or contact the PFI office at (515) 232-5661 to request a printed copy.

Practical Farmers’ 2015 field days are supported by several sustaining and major sponsors, including: Albert Lea Seed; Applegate Natural & Organic Meats; BlueStem Organic Feed Mill; Center for Rural Affairs; Featherman Equipment Company; Grain Millers, Inc.; Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance; Iowa Beef Center; Iowa Farm Service Agency (USDA); Iowa Farmers Union in partnership with Town and Country Insurance and Hastings Mutual Insurance; Iowa State University Department of Agronomy; Iowa State University Extension and Outreach; Iowa Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE); Iowa’s Center for Agricultural Safety and Health (I-CASH); ISU Graduate Program in Sustainable Agriculture; Klinkenborg Aerial Spraying and Seeding, Inc.; La Crosse Seed; Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture; Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES); MOSA Organic Certification; National Wildlife Federation; Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS); Organic Valley – Organic Prairie – CROPP Cooperative; The Nature Conservancy in Iowa; Pro-Soil Ag Solutions; Wallace Chair for Sustainable Agriculture; and Welter Seed and Honey Company.


Practical Farmers of Iowa strengthens farms and communities through farmer-led investigation and information-sharing. Our values include: welcoming everyone; creativity, collaboration and community; viable farms now and for future generations; and stewardship and ecology. Founded in 1985, farmers in our network raise corn, soybeans, livestock, hay, fruits and vegetables, and more. To learn more, visit


Bill Frederick | (515) 370-5781 |

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