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Fostering Sustainable Agriculture through Research, Education and Policy since 1984

2017 Wisconsin Cover Crop Conference a Success

The 2017 conference, our fourth, was held on October 4th in Washington and Ozaukee Counties, near Wisconsin’s Eastern shore. The theme of this year’s conference was “The Role of Cover Crops in Soil and Water Quality”, chosen because the location falls in the Milwaukee River Watershed which is classified as impaired by the Environmental Protection Agency due in part to phosphorus loading. The day included a keynote address by Dr. Jamie Patton, followed by a bus tour of three local farms. Jamie captivated the audience with her discussion of the importance of soil health and how cover crops positively affect it. To prove her points, she used soil pits dug into different cover crop plots, showing how different rooting types affect the soil differently. Topics on the farm tour included cover crop mixes after wheat, impact of cover crops on corn yield, early- season interseeding of cover crops in corn and soybean, and low disturbance manure injection. This manure application system causes minimal soil movement and works well in standing cover crops which further helps reduce soil erosion and nutrient movement.

This year’s conference was a joint effort of the Institute, Sheboygan County UW-Extension, Washington and Ozaukee County Land Conservation Departments, Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District and two farmer-led watershed groups: Clean Farm Families and Cedar Creek Farmers. A special thanks to the host farmers including Ross Bishop, Allen Schmidt, Mike Paulus and Jim Melichar.

The 2018 Conference “Investing in Your Farms Future” will be held February 27 in Stevens Point. Watch for further details.