Constraints to Profitability of Small Grains in Iowa and the Upper Midwest
The Iowa Organic Association (IOA) has received a three-year grant (2014-2016) from the Ceres Trust to work on yield-limiting factors in organic small grains. The project works directly with organic farmers to identify factors that may impact yields and quality, and then will implement on-farm trials on certified organic farms to test possible solutions.
The small-grain year of organic rotations is usually the least profitable, but is valuable to the organic rotation as a whole. IOA is hopeful that overcoming this obstacle will for more profitable organic transitions as well as an improvement in the profitability of existing organic operations. Dr. Margaret Smith , specialist with the Value Added Agriculture Program at Iowa State University, an IOA advisor and investigator on the project shared her enthusiasm about the project: “It is exciting to have the opportunity to help solve some issues for organic growers surrounding their small grain yields and profits. I think that insights from this study will also shed light on issues for other crops within overall organic rotations that may be addressed in the future.” Others involved in the project include Dr. Mary Wiedenhoeft, Professor of Agronomy and Director of the Graduate Program in Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University, Grain Millers, Inc. organic oat processors, and approximately 40 certified organic small grain growers in Iowa.
Project Year 1 Results are summarized in this poster presented at the 2015 MOSES conference.