Small Grains Explored as Crop Diversity Option

National Public Radio’s The Salt reported on efforts by Practical Farmers of Iowa and Sustainable Food Lab to help corn and soy farmers diversify by growing small grains. Although farmers are interested and adding small grains in rotation can improve water quality and soil quality, farmers need markets for the crops. Some companies are interested in alternative crops for products such as an oat-based drink, but the primary market for these crops could be livestock feed. Research is underway on how small grains perform as feed for commercial livestock. In one experiment, a Montana goat dairy had to pay more for a diverse feed, but the goats produced more milk on the feed and it, in turn, produced more cheese.