It’s Time to Add Small Grains Back onto Illinois Farms

Small Grains for Soil Health

  • Diversifying crop rotations adds resilience and increases food production security
  • Small grains are a simple addition becuase infrastructure, logistics, and transportation for grain production already exist
  • Pressure from herbicide resistant weeds will decrease with small grains in the rotation
  • Small grains are an important economic and environmental opportunity for the landscape
  • Small grains, along with cover crops, protect against erosion by keeping roots in the land year-round
  • Small grains are a key, along with legumes, in building Nitrogen in the soil
  • Rotationally raised livestock benefits from early small grain harvest and summer cover crops
  • Small grains can be used to feed livestock
  • Small grains can be used for cover crops, seed, and food stock
  • There now exist a wide selection of small grain varieties to fit every farming need.
  • Small grains provide an educational opportunity
  • There is untapped demand from bakers and brewers for local grains
  • Diverstiy in roots aids in providing diverse habitats for soil microbes, and microbial activity in the soil is integral to soil health
  • Small grains decrease input costs
  • Small grains decrease fertilizer use and help prevent water pollution by decreasing fertilizer runoff
  • Small grains decrease pesticide use, making them environmentally friendly

Support Illinois small grain farmers and look for locally grown flours, breads, baked goods and beers.