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UW organic field day slated for Aug. 30 at Arlington Station

The University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Arlington Agricultural Research Station will hold its first field day devoted to organic agricultural production on Aug. 30 from 3 – 7 p.m.

Field crops, processing vegetables and market vegetables will all get some attention at the event, which will include information on organic weed management, cover and companion crops, soil quality, variety selection, vegetable crop trials, and no-till organic production.

The event will begin with field tours featuring ongoing research on fertility management strategies, organic soybean variety trials, organic corn seed treatments, cover crop options, and no-till organic production using crimped rye. Following the tours, there will be additional presentations on research projects involving organic processing vegetables, organic vegetable variety selection, cover crops for organic vegetable production, and weed management strategies.

A highlight of the tour will be a discussion of research using a roller-crimper for no-till production of soybeans with a rye cover crop.

“The idea is to lodge the rye severely enough so it doesn’t stand back up,” explains Bill Stangel, assistant superintendent of the Arlington station, who has been working with UW-Madison agronomists Josh Posner and Dave Stoltenberg to evaluate the effectiveness of various crimping strategies.

“We use it as a weed control tool,” explains Stangel. “The rye serves as a mulch. It also has an alleopathic affect – the cover crop releases a compound that reduces the vigor of germinating weeds. Rye works especially well on small seeded weeds like foxtail, pigweed and lambsquarter. It also provides crop residue to protect the soil.”

The presentations won’t be limited to research being conducted at Arlington. Organic production specialist Erin Silva will talk about organic vegetable variety trials that she is conducting in conjunction with cooperating farmers at several locations around the state. Those trials include varieties of organic green beans, carrots, beets, edamame, cucumbers and cantaloupes.

The Arlington Research Station is located on Hwy. 51, about 5 miles south of Arlington and 15 miles north of Madison. Dinner will be available for a moderate charge at 6 p.m. Watch for Field Day signs. For more information, contact Erin Silva at (608) 890-1503 or emsilva@wisc.edu. In the event of rain, presentations will be held inside.

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