Lancaster ARS Field Day to showcase Kernza wheat – July 19

Kernza, cover crops and conservation will be the focus at the Lancaster Ag Research Station Field Day on Wednesday, July 19 from 9:30 a.m. – noon. The public is encouraged to attend.

The Field Day will provide research updates on two projects that enhance soil health and farm profits, as well as an opportunity to see a rainfall simulator.

Kernza is a variety of intermediate wheat grass that has gone through 6 generations of breeding and selection for seed size by The Land Institute. The goal is to develop a perennial grain that does not need to be planted annually and that can have a dual role as a resilient livestock forage that produces when other cool season forages shut down from moisture stress. Wheatgrass develops a massive root system. Field scale plots have been established at Lancaster and multiple local farms in SW Wisconsin. Lancaster ARS is one of the grazing sites. We’ll observe plots and see what yield and quality data can tell us of Kernza’s potential for grazing and grain.

Wisconsin producers are quickly adopting cover crops as a strategy to conserve soil, capture nutrients and build soil health. Cover Crops after wheat or corn silage are simple. However, our short growing season can make cover crops a challenge after corn and soybeans. The second update will review success with interseeding cover crops into V5 corn so a growing plant is already established by crop harvest and is able to grow through fall. We’ll be looking at shade tolerance and timing for successful establishment.

The Lancaster Ag Research Station is located at 7396 State Rd 35 & 81.