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Fostering Sustainable Agriculture through Research, Education and Policy since 1984

Wheat Harvest Complete, Now on to Conservation Work

This will be a short blog this month. We are into what should be the dog days of summer, but once again mother nature has a mind of her own. Usually during this time of year, we are hot and dry, but as I write this article it is cloudy and we will probably only have a high of 70. It continues to rain on a weekly basis and has been one of the wettest summers anyone can remember. Recently we harvested the transition wheat crop on our 200+ acres north and west of town and a dedicated crew has been busy pollinating our corn research plots.

Despite all our weather issues it was an excellent crop year for wheat as we averaged around 70 bushels per acre. A local farmer baled the straw, to use as livestock bedding, and we are ready to start NRCS approved conservation work on the property.

As I have previously written in my blogs one of MFAI’s primary missions is to promote sustainability and good stewardship of our lands. We stress the use of cover crops, no-till and NRCS approved conservation practices designed to reduce nutrient and soil run-off into our lakes, streams and rivers. Our 200 acres is part of the head-lands that drains into the Mukwonago River and we are working with The Nature Conservancy and surrounding communities to keep this river as clean and pristine as possible.

Our plan for this property is designed to decrease nutrient and soil run-off to as close to zero as possible. During the next few weeks we will be establishing a new grass waterway with buffer zones across the northern end of the property where it drains directly into Lake Lulu. In addition, we will create new pollinator habitat buffer zone plantings around the timber areas adjacent to the property and re-establish 2 natural fens that have been farmed the past 20+ years.

By the time we have accomplished all this work, over the next 3 months, we believe we will have transformed this farm land into one of the premier transition to organic research farms in the upper Midwest. Once the land is certified organic late in the fall of 2019, we plan to conduct field crop research looking at a variety of cover crops, no-till systems and their effects on organic and biodynamic farming practices.

I hope you will join us in this journey. We look forward to seeing you at future field days/farm tours, or if you are visiting the area just stop-in for an impromptu tour and discussion.

Perry Brown, Executive Director