Wheat and Barley for Grain and Forage

There are many small grains used in the Midwest. Although the most popular are triticale and oats, several of these other small grains may have a use on your farm.


Whether grown as a cover crop or for grain, wheat adds rotation to any cropping system. The seeding rate is 100-150 lb./A for forage and 30-60 lb./A for cover crop or in mixes. Harvested as a grain crop, it offers the option of double cropping with sorghum x sudan, radishes, or other cover crops.

Pro 200 Winter Wheat

  • Beardless variety
  • Solid forage performance in the Midwest
  • Rust resistant

Zones: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Cover Crop Wheat

  • A more economical wheat for cover crop or forage

Zones: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Bess Wheat

  • 38 to 40 inches tall
  • Good straw strength
  • Forage or grain

Zones: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

P-919 Winter Barley

  • Beardless
  • Great for fall grazing and forage production
  • Tall, but above average lodging resistance

Zones: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Atlantic Winter Barley

  • Semi-awned
  • Great disease resistance to powdery mildew, leaf rust
  • Great yielding and moderately early heading
  • Shorter (about 33 in.) with less lodging

Zones: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6


Barley is gaining popularity in the Midwest for forage because it tends to be high in sugar and very soft with high digestibility. Barley also is very palatable. The downside is it cannot take very wet areas or may winterkill. As a grain, barley is 10 days earlier than wheat. Great for a double crop.

Wheat and Barley