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On August 17, nearly 80 people gathered in Ames to attend our first conference focused exclusively on small grains. We opened with lunch and a keynote from Don Halcomb, the chairman of the Kentucky Small Grain Promotion Council, sharing the history of how growers in Kentucky came together to create a small grains association and a wheat checkoff. Then, twelve speakers gave hour-long presentations on all things small grains – from selecting varieties to management to the use of small grains for animal feed or milling for human consumption. The day concluded with a buyers and sellers reception where small grains buyers from six companies mingled with farmers and answered questions about their market specifications.
We were fortunate to take video of several of the sessions at the conference and have just published our first one, Pete Lammers’s session on feeding small grains in livestock rations. “You can feed small grains to your livestock,” Pete said, “they won’t die.” In the video, he covers current research on outcomes of feeding small grains to pigs, poultry, horses and ruminant animals and optimal inclusion rates in rations.
We’ll be releasing more videos of sessions at the small grains conference in the weeks to come, so check in on our youtube page to stay up to date with the latest releases.
In the meantime, slides and handouts from each of these twelve presentations are now online so you can catch up on what you missed or revisit some ideas you heard at the conference. You can follow the links below to the presentation materials or visit www.practicalfarmers.org/small-grains where the links will be permanently housed under “conference sessions” toward the bottom of the page.
- Developing Small Grains Markets through a Growers Association – Don Halcomb – PDF
- High Yielding Winter Wheat Production – Don Halcomb – Handout
- Small Grains in Feed Rations – Pete Lammers – PDF– Handout
- Market Specifications and Contracts for Food Grade Small Grains – Sam Raser – PDF
- Winter Rye Varity Selection, Nitrogen and Disease Management – Jochum Wiersman – PDF
- Winter Wheat and Barley Selection, Nitrogen and Disease Management – Joel Ransom – PDF
- Equipment Set Up for Small Grains and Green Manure Success – Keith Kohler – PDF
- Growing Conventional Small Grains with Livestock – Lee Brockmueller – PDF
- Oat Variety Selection, Nitrogen and Disease Management – Mac Ehrhardt – PDF
- Function and Benefits of Green Manures – Matt Ruark – PDF
- Managing for Food Grade Quality Organic Oats in Iowa – Darren Fehr – PDF
- Putting Organic Crop Rotations to Work – Erin Silva – PDF
- Business Planning and Management of Small Grains in Organic Transition – Jonathan and Carolyn Olson – PDF
All in all, the event was a huge success. Many attendees asked me if we would do this again next year – and the answer is yes, in Minnesota or Wisconsin. As part of our Small Grains in the Cornbelt project we are offering small grains cost share and educational programming around small grains in Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin. In each of the three years of the project we will host one small grains conference in one of the three states. So to catch this event next year, you’ll have to hit the road. Hope to see you there!