OGRAIN to Host Organic Grain Field Days

More and more farmers are looking for ways to diversify their income while increasing efficiency and productivity. The Organic Grain Resource and Information Network (OGRAIN) which is a program of the University of Wisconsin–Madison and UW–Extension Cooperative Extension, in partnership with the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES), is hosting a series of field days throughout the summer highlighting the opportunities associated with organic grain production and alternative crops, particularly cereal grains.

Field days will be hosted on commercial farms and at the UW–Madison Arlington Agricultural Research Station, showcasing state-of-the-art production strategies and innovations that allow for organic practices to be integrated on farms of all scales and crop rotations.

Sales of organic food reached $45.2 billion in the U.S. in 2017. The organic market continues to grow, with demand outpacing domestic supply, notes OGRAIN program leader Erin Silva, a UW–Madison assistant professor of plant pathology and UW–Extension specialist in organic agriculture.

“Organic grain prices remain strong, with organic corn averaging $10 per bushel, and organic soybean $18.50 per bushel,” says Silva. “Wisconsin, with the second highest number of organic farms in the nation—as well as a wealth of organic knowledge, expertise and infrastructure—is well-positioned to continue to help meet this expanding market opportunity.”

The OGRAIN Field Days:

July 12, 2018: Small grains, modest gains: A pragmatic approach to profitability and sustainability

8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Hughes Farms, 4031 S. US Hwy 51, Janesville, WI 53546

  • This field day will highlight the diversity and innovations at the Hughes Farms in Janesville, WI. Farming over 5,000 acres in a parallel operation consisting of both conventional and organic practices, the Hughes have succeeded in developing diverse rotations and markets. This field day, in partnership with Practical Farmers of Iowa, MOSES, and the Organic Seed Alliance, will discuss and showcase cover crops for green manures, weed control, soil erosion reduction and water quality improvements; tips for trialing varieties for performance under organic management; and basics of transitioning to organic certification.

To register for a meal, RSVP to Debra Boekholder debra@practicalfarmers.org by July 6.

July 16, 2018: Mechanical weed management field clinic

10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

UW–Madison Arlington Agricultural Research Station

N695 Hopkins Rd, Arlington, WI 53911

  • This field-based summer clinic, hosted by the UW Arlington Research Station, will demonstrate several weed management tools, including tine-weeders, rotary hoes, row cultivators, and roller/crimping equipment. Experts will be on-hand to discuss best weed management strategies for different crop stages and field conditions.

To register for a meal, RSVP to Jody Padgham padgham@wisc.edu by July 11.

July 31, 2018: Integrating cereal grains into an organic dairy rotation

9:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Wilson Family Dairy Farm, Cuba City, WI

  • This field day be hosted by the Wilson Family Farm, which has 400 dairy cows on 2,900 organic acres. Farming organically since 1996, the Wilson’s emphasize soil health, and the connection between soil health, plant health, and healthy people and animals. This field day will discuss and demonstrate organic no-till soybeans, soil health practices, and the integration cereal grains into a dairy rotation as both quality feed for the herd and off-farm sales. This field day is co-hosted with MOSES and Organic Valley/CROPP Cooperative.

To register, visit https://mosesorganic.org/events/organic-field-days/

August 23, 2018: UW Organic Agriculture Research Field Day

1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

UW–Madison Arlington Agricultural Research Station

N695 Hopkins Rd, Arlington, WI 53911

  • This field day will highlight research conducted on the certified organic land at the UW Arlington Research Station. Research highlighted will include: equipment modifications for rolling/crimping rye; interseeding cover crops into corn; and cover crop strategies to reduce tillage in organic corn production.

No registration required.

August 29, 2018: Diversifying organic grain rotations with alternative crops

1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Lily Lake Organic Farm

4N852 Wooley Rd., Maple Park, IL 60151

  • Hosted by Lily Lake Organic Farm, this field day will highlight growing dual-purpose buckwheat as a cash crop and as a cover crop. Various pieces of equipment for controlling weeds in grain crops will be on display, with their use and effectiveness discussed.

To register, visit https://mosesorganic.org/events/organic-field-days/

For more information on any of these events, or for further information about OGRAIN, contact Erin Silva, emsilva@wisc.edu, 608-890-1503.