In Nebraska corn, barley, edible beans, millet, oats, soybeans, wheat, alfalfa and other forages are grown here and marketed organically. Other organic crops such as amaranth, popcorn, blue corn, and spelt are grown under contract for a premium.

Organic crop rotations for eastern Nebraska
Figure 1. Organic crop rotations for eastern Nebraska. (Excerpted from the NebGuide, Planning the Transition to Organic Crop Production, G2282)


Rotations vary by region. In western Nebraska, a stacked three-year rotation of winter wheat/millet/fallow/winter wheat/sunflower/fallow has been successful at the High Plains Ag Lab. If there is adequate soil moisture, the fallow phase after millet can sometimes be replaced with winter field pea that's plowed under in early June. In eastern Nebraska a seven-year rotation of soybeans/winter wheat/popcorn/alfalfa (three years)/corn has been used successfully at the South Central Agricultural Lab near Clay Center. Hairy vetch is planted after wheat harvest to provide nitrogen for the following popcorn crop.

Field Peas. Field peas are showing promise as a profitable cool-season crop in western Nebraska. Field peas add flexibility to the organic rotation, providing a window of opportunity for incorporating manure and growing cover crops prior to planting a winter small grain, and breaking cycles of weeds and pests that infest warm-season crops. See Replacing Summer Fallow with Grain-type Field Peas: New Markets, New Opportunities.

Cover Crops

Nebraska Extension Resources