April showers bring May showers, June showers, and July showers….
Wow! What a wet and rainy spring we had and what a wet and rainy summer we are having. The rain in May brought us many planting delays. Just as it was nearly dry enough to get into the field, it would rain yet again. The month of June brought us at least 6.75 inches […]
Every year, every season, brings its challenges. The spring greeted us with rain – lots of it. In the months of April and May we had a combined precipitation total of over 7 inches. Our area hasn’t seen that amount of spring rain in quite some time. The timing of the rain was especially irksome, […]
Institute Initiates New Project Examining Cover Crop Economics
In April, the Institute was awarded a USDA Sustainable Agricultural Research and Education (SARE) Partnership Program grant to evaluate the economics of cover crop use in no-till grain production. The project entitled “Do Cover Crops Pay? Expanding Learning Circle for Peer to Peer Cover Crop Promotion Using Economics as a Theme” will couple research and […]
Most Environmentally Friendly Project
The Nature Conservancy and Michael Fields Agricultural Institute won The Milwaukee Business Journal’s Most Environmentally Friendly Project Award 2016, for their Farmland Conservation/Water Protection Project. Read the Business Journal Article here
Spring is here!
After a busy winter of processing & analyzing corn samples and getting selections all packaged, labeled and organized; we are now entering a busy Spring. Many of those samples are being repackaged into planting envelopes and will soon be in the ground (planting planned for May).
MFAI Farm Conservation Project Nominated for Milwaukee Business Journal Real Estate Award
The project entitled Farmland Conservation through Land and Water Protection has been nominated in 3 categories: Most Environmentally Friendly Project, Best Public/Private Partnership, and Most Creative Deal of the Year. The award focuses on the best real estate deals and projects that were completed in 2016 within Milwaukee, Kenosha, Ozaukee, Racine, Walworth, Washington […]
“Cover Crops in Wisconsin” Website Launched
The Wisconsin Cover Crop workgroup has launched a new website designed to be a clearinghouse for cover crop information in Wisconsin. We are a multi-agency group that conducts research and provides unbiased information to help farmers use cover crops to improve their production systems and minimize soil loss. Jim Stute, Research Director at the Institute […]
Looking for organic locations!
I had the pleasure of joining a great group of people the other day, the US Testing Network (USTN) for our annual meeting. USTN is a member-based organization of corn public breeders, private/independent breeders, seed retailers, and researchers. We focus on non-transgenic corn varieties for both conventional and organic growers. USTN’s purpose is to coordinate […]
Making Wisconsin Fruits and Veggies Taste Better
by Tim Morrissey, Public News Service (WI) MADISON, Wis. — Most consumers have had the experience of buying vegetables because they look great, and then being disappointed by how they taste. That’s one of the main considerations in a new initiative at the University of Wisconsin College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, called the “Seed […]
Institute Releases Study on Cover Crop Economics
A recently completed study entitled “Economic analysis of cover crops: impact of interseeding red clover in wheat on corn production economics” evaluated the costs, returns and risk of this cover cropping practice and found that in addition to conservation benefits, it can significantly improve the bottom line. It used published data from side-by-side mid-western […]
Cover-Cropping: Making Money While Practicing Conservation
August 22, 2016 – Tim Morrissey, Public News Service (WI) EAST TROY, Wis. — A study just released by the Michael Fields Agricultural Institute points to tangible economic benefits and positive environmental outcomes from cover-cropping. Wisconsin farmers are already familiar with the conservation, water-quality and soil-health benefits of cover-cropping, but they have also become increasingly […]
Cover Crop Field Day
The Institute will be holding a cover crop field day on Thursday, September 8th from 1 to 4 pm, beginning at our research farm, W2857 County ES, East Troy. The field day will feature our latest research work in both organic and conventional systems with topics including Sunn hemp cultural trials, no-till cover crop sequences, […]
Pollination for the next generation!
Another summer season, another hot July with a to-do list that literally ran up in the tens of thousands, and just as quickly as it began suddenly it has passed. The corn just loved all of the high night-time temperatures and the hot sunny days, and thankfully we were blessed with some rain; yet we […]
“Bringing it Home” FREE Movie Screening
Join us at Michael Fields Agricultural Institute, on Thursday, June 9th at 6:30 p.m. for a FREE movie about Industrial Hemp! The multi-award winning documentary, “Bringing it Home” is all about Industrial Hemp and its uses. Did you know that Industrial Hemp (marijuana’s non-psychotropic sibling), is used as raw material in buildings, insulation, roofing, bio-composites […]
SAVE THE DATE: 2016 Wisconsin Cover Crops Conference
Tuesday, August 30, 2016 in Lancaster, Wisconsin. The one-day conference whose theme is “Coupling soil health and economics” will feature a bus tour highlighting the operations of several local cover crop uses, both dairy/ livestock and cash grain as well as cover crop research at the Lancaster Research Station. Special emphasis will be placed on […]
Michael Fields Farm Acquisition Protects Waterways, Catalyzes Farm Research
Walk onto the Michael Fields Agriculture Institute’s recent land purchase, you will see 200-plus acres of farmland that is vital to the surrounding ecosystem. Land, and how it is cared for, is integral to overall environmental health. The Institute and its partners will be contributing to the protection of Wisconsin’s natural resources by tending the […]
These seeds want to get in the ground!
Thousands of them! We’re busy prepping seed for our upcoming corn planting which will consist of a yield trial, a gametophytic incompatibility experiment (that is corn with the ability to reject pollen that is not its own, which includes GMO pollen), and our breeding nursery. Stay tuned for more updates.
Corn Breeding Update
We have had promising results in our gametophytic incompatibility breeding goals, that is breeding corn with the ability to reject pollen that is not its own, this includes GMO pollen. Both of these ears of corn were pollinated with a mixture of their own pollen and a larger amount of blue corn pollen. The ear […]
Corn with the ability to reject GMO pollen!
Here at Michael Fields, we recognize that there is a need for seeds that are non-GMO and are suitable for organic farms. Organic seeds need to be strong, resilient, and produce plants able to yield in weedy environments. We also recognize that organic farmers have needs. One need that we are responding to, with the […]
What a beautiful sight!
Cow horns filled with manure, all in a row, earth bound and ready for winter. During the winter, they are receptive to cosmic-forces and are unearthed in the spring as Biodynamic preparation 500. After stirring a portion of the contents in water for an hour, the mixture is applied to fields to promote soil health, […]
Seeds are Essential to Human Survival
Farmers may only be approximately 1% of the population, but eaters are nearly 100% of the population. If you go into a grocery store, you will find that most of the food items either started from a seed or ate something that started from a seed, I suppose at the most basic level we all […]
Call to Prayer
As I write this, it is has been hot, dry and without rain for over two weeks and I’ve been working in the middle of a cornfield for most of it. The temps have been in the 80’s daily and the nights in the mid-60’s, a kind of heat that you can still feel as […]
“Knee high by the 4th of July”
Hard to know how long this idiom has been in our American language. It refers to a healthy corn crop looking towards a healthy harvest, but is no longer accurate in our part of the country. In our fields, by July 4th, many of our hybrids are chest to neck high. In the North Country, […]
What’s eating our research?
Also known as a natural history of the ground squirrel: Upon visiting our newly planted fields of research corn, we encountered something a little peculiar with the young sprouts. Our four inch corn was systematically dug out of the soil with the remainder of the plant lying next to a careful hole. We investigated, discussed, […]
A Soil Science Must Read for Everyone
Earlier this month, the journal Science published an article entitled “Soil and human security in the 21st century”, a must read for everyone, not just those already concerned about agricultural sustainability. In the article, the authors spell out the effects of soil “domestication” for agricultural production and the interactions with climate change forces, discuss the […]