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UW Organic Field Day to be Held September 2
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 08/19/2015

The University of Wisconsin-Madison's organic agriculture research program will be holding a special Organic Agriculture Field Day on September 2. The program will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Arlington Agricultural Research Station.

Much of the day will focus on options available to organic soybean growers, including the roller-crimper technique. Researchers say that farmers who use this approach can markedly reduce, and even eliminate, tillage or cultivation during the soybean production year, and they are able to achieve yields of 45 bushels per acre, which is on par with typical organic soybean production.

"We've been researching cover crop-based organic no-till at Arlington since 2008, and we've seen it's an excellent strategy to produce organic soybean in southern Wisconsin," says Erin Silva, a UW-Madison assistant professor of plant pathology and UW-Extension organic production systems specialist.

The event will feature Jeff Moyer, farm director of the Rodale Institute, a non-profit organization dedicated to developing and sharing best practices for organic farming systems. Moyer, who is considered a pioneer of the roller-crimper practices, will talk about his experiences with the approach and what he has found essential to create a successful organic no-till system.

The field day will also feature a research update on organic yields and soil quality from the long-term Wisconsin Integrated Cropping Systems Trial; cover crop options following small grains; pasture grass variety trial results; data from on-farm organic pasture productivity and soil quality surveys; and a report on efforts to breed sweet corn for organic systems.

All of the research projects featured during the field day are being conducted at Arlington ARS, which has more than 70 acres of certified organic land, or on working organic farms with input from organic producers.

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