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Fostering Sustainable Agriculture through Research, Education and Policy since 1984

The Wisconsin Integrated Cropping Systems Trial (WICST)

The WICST project is a collaborative research and extension effort to compare the productivity, profitability and environmental impact of agricultural production systems in Wisconsin and the Upper Midwest. The trials compare six different cropping systems (three cash grain and three forage based crops) ranging from diverse, organic systems to less diverse conventional systems.

The trials were established in 1989 at two sites in Wisconsin as a collaborative effort of the UW Agronomy Department and Michael Fields Agriculture Institute. Presently, the trial is carried out at the UW Madison Arlington Research Station on more than 60 acres of cropping systems plots plus native prairie established for long term comparisons on a range of environmental variables. The long term nature of the trial and the wealth of data accumulated will allow us to make long term socio-economic and environmental comparisons between alternative cropping systems on the soil, water and atmosphere, as well as trends in productivity and profitability for producers. Issues to be reported on include the effect of alternative crop rotations on farm profitability, farm risk, carbon sequestration, soil loss, soil health, and nitrate leaching.