June 14 Field Day Looks at Multiple Uses of Small Grains

Malting barley crops. Photo: Thinkstock.

WOOSTER, Ohio – One crop, multiple profit options?

Farmers who grow small grains can find additional uses for them, including as cover crops and as alternative or supplemental livestock forages, besides using them as a cash grain crop, says an Ohio State University Extension educator.

Small grains — including cereal rye, wheat, oats and barley — can be planted and put to use to fulfill a variety of needs, said Rory Lewandowski, an OSU Extension agriculture and natural resources educator.

Crop growers who also produce livestock may find that growing small grains as cover crops can not only protect and improve their soils, but those cover crops can also feed their livestock or be sold for profit as a cash crop, Lewandowski said.

“Not only can farmers reap the benefits of planting small grains as cover crops to increase soil organic matter and increase yields, but they can also fit into row cropping systems and be used as feed,” he said. “They also have the potential to generate additional farm income.”

Interest in developing malting barley varieties adapted to Ohio conditions is growing, Lewandowski said. 

A Small Grains Field Day June 14 will highlight some of the current research in this area. Malting barley could be used as a cover crop as well as a cash grain crop to be sold to brewers in response to Ohio’s growing craft brewing industry, he said.

“In addition to the increased demand for locally grown hops, craft brewers also want locally grown malting barley for their craft beers,” he said. “That’s the nice thing about some of these small grain crops – they can offer multiple purposes depending on what the market is doing in a particular year.

OSU Extension and Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center researchers and educators will lead the daylong workshop, which will focus on small grains production including research updates, hands-on disease identification, management practices and cropping demonstrations.  

The Small Grain Field Day is sponsored by OSU Extension, OARDC, the Ohio Certified Seed Association, Ohio Corn and Wheat Association, and the Ohio Soybean Council. OSU Extension and OARDC are the outreach and research arms, respectively, of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University.

Topics to be discussed during the field day include:

  • Malting Barley: Opportunities and Possibilities for Ohio.
  • Small Grains as Cover Crops and Alternative Forages.
  • Modified Relay Intercropping of Soybeans into Wheat Demonstration.
  • Wheat Production Agronomics.
  • Wheat and Barley Disease Identification and Management.
  • Wheat Breeding and Evaluation Update.

The field day will also feature a small grain crimping and soybean seeding demonstration, Lewandowski said. Small grain crimping or rolling is an organic method used to terminate the cover crop and allow the planting of a row crop like soybeans into a killed mulch.

The workshop is from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at OARDC’s Schaffter Farm, 3240 Oil City Road, in Wooster.

Registration is $25 by June 3 and $35 after that date. Registration is required and includes lunch, refreshments and program handouts. Private pesticide applicator and Certified Crop Adviser credits will be offered to participants, Lewandowski said.

For more information, contact Lewandowski at 330-264-8722 or lewandowski.11@osu.edu. A registration form can be found at go.osu.edu/agwayne. Registration forms and payment can be sent to OSU Extension, Wayne County, 428 West Liberty St., Wooster, OH 44691.

Tracy Turner
For more information, contact: 

Rory Lewandowski