Organic Field Day Highlights Grain

Demand for organic grain continues to increase, with prices for organic soybeans reaching $30 per bushel. While requiring a different approach to management than conventional production, growing organic grain offers a profitable opportunity for Wisconsin’s farmers at both smaller and larger scales.

Research relating to organic grain production will be a key focus of this year’s UW Organic Agriculture Field Day, set for 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 24 at the Arlington Agricultural Research Station.

Research at the station shows that integrating cover crops into corn and soybean phases of a rotation can help farmers build soil organic matter, while reducing the need for tillage and cultivation in organic systems. With the increasing recognition of the value of soil health, these practices offer alternatives for farmers looking to reduce the need for soil disturbance on their organic operations.

“We continue to learn more about how to optimize the use of cover crops to reduce tillage in organic grains, including through roller-crimping and interseeding,” says event organizer Erin Silva, associate professor and extension specialist in the UW–Madison Department of Plant Pathology. “We’ve been focusing on accessible approaches for farmers to apply these practices to their fields through optimizing their equipment and increasing the consistency of their success.”

The event will also feature research presentations focused on breeding crops specifically for organic operations, including cover crop-based systems.

The registration table at the UW Organic Agriculture Field Day will open at 9:45 a.m. on Aug. 24. A lunch will be available around noon. RSVPs are requested to be sent to Erin Silva at [email protected].