Cereal rye: Why not grow it locally?

Farmers who need a good rotational crop should consider cereal rye, a crop that is high in demand but short in supply.

I have never been known for being an agricultural economist, but economists have taught me the concept around supply and demand. It seems almost every year now that cereal rye (rye) is in short supply. Therefore, the demand is higher than the supply. This could be an excellent opportunity for farmers who need a good rotational crop that could make them money.

Rye is a crop that can grow in all kinds of soil types, requires low inputs and can dramatically reduce winter annual weeds. The negative side of rye is that it isn’t as high yielding as winter wheat. Similar to wheat, a farmer can successfully frost-seed red clover into rye, thus contributing nitrogen for the next cropping season.

If you are considering growing rye for seed, you should start with high quality seed. You must try to track that down immediately.

There are many benefits to trying a planting of rye. First, you will have a cover crop this fall that will protect the soil. Second, if you decide not to grow rye for seed, you could graze or harvest the forage for feed. Third, if you are taking the rye for seed, you can frost-seed red clover to produce nitrogen for the following season’s crop. Fourth, you will have a crop in demand that should be easy to sell at a good price.

Good luck and I hope we can have a good supply of cereal rye from local farmers next year.

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