New venue and focus for this year’s Organic Field Day

The fourth annual UW-Madison Organic Field Day will have a different venue and focus than previous events. This year’s field day will be held at the West Madison Agricultural Research Station on July 28 and will look specifically on organic vegetable research and variety trials. The first three field days were held at Arlington and covered both vegetables and row crops. This year organizers decided to adopt an every-other-year appproach, targeting vegetable producers one year and row crop producers the next. West Madison was picked for this year’s event because it has more organic vegetable plots.

“We think this will make for a more focused field day, which will make it more useful for the growers,” explains Erin Silva, the college’s organic research coordinator. “And since we’ll have two years worth of findings to talk about, we’ll have more findings to share with both types of growers.”

Field tours will offer a look at organic vegetable variety trials and development, no-till vegetable production using killed buckwheat mulch, and sweet corn density. The program will also include late blight updates, cucumber beetle management, fertility management using cover crops and a demonstration of farm management software.

The field day offers growers a chance to compare the performance of a wide array of organic vegetable varieties. The UW-Madison is part of an organic variety trial network that also includes researchers and farmers in Oregon, Washington and New York. This partnership allows comparisons across a range of regions, farm sizes and farming systems, Silva says.

There will also be a demonstration of VeggieCompass, a farm business management software system that lets a diversified vegetable farm track costs and profitability of individual crops. The system was developed by the UW-Madison in partnership with organic producer Jim Munsch.

Registration will begin at 1 p.m. Demonstrations and tours will run from 1:15–5:30 p.m. The station is located at 8502 Mineral Point Rd..