Archive | Organic / Low Input Systems

This section includes a collection of research activities to reduce the use of chemicals in Wisconsin cropping systems. Also, organic systems are evaluated in terms of production, weed control and profitability with feed-grade premiums.

Tartary buckweat less effective than common buckwheat as a summer cover crop in southern Wisconsin

Systematic assessment of novel crops and management techniques are practical objectives of agricultural field research. This study sought to expand the cover cropping toolkit available to WI farmers with a series of on-station experiments using buckwheat (Fagopyrum spp). Cover crops provide many benefits to farms and the environment, including improving soil quality and fertility, weed [...] More »

Recent Trends in Organic Corn and Soybean Yields on WICST (2002-2009)

Several factors have been identified for improvement including weed control, seed treatment, stand densities, fertility, and improved hybrids from concurrent UW research. Weed control was a continuous struggle, especially in wet springs (Posner et al 2008). After 2-3 years of mediocre organic corn and soybean yields, and one crop failure, many changes were imposed [...] More »

A Comparison of Low Input Systems on WICST

Marginal profits, increasing pest pressure, and concern for pollution hazard have resulted in increased interest in including small grains in corn-soybean rotations and using less inputs.  Data from the WICST trials show environmental advantages of using a chemical free three-phase system but yields were often lower than in the high input systems.  Researchers have [...] More »

Response of Herbivores and Natural Enemies to Organic and Conventional Management of Field Crops

Organic agricultural production in the United States has continued to expand; the amount of organically managed land doubled from 1990-2002 and again from 2002-2005 (USDA 2009). The rising prevalence of organic farming systems in the agricultural landscape has necessitated efforts to understand their ecological impacts. Numerous studies have found greater abundances of predatory or beneficial insects on organic compared [...] More »

Organic No-Tillage Winter Rye-Soybean Systems: Weed Community Dynamics

We conducted research in 2008 and 2009 near Arlington, Wisconsin to determine the effects of a winter rye cover crop for no-tillage organic soybean production on weed management and the weed community dynamics relative to a tillage-intensive approach (plowing, tine weeding, and cultivation). Our specific objectives were to determine the effect of rye management [...] More »

Organic No-Tillage Winter Rye-Soybean Systems: Agronomic, Economic, and Environmental Assessment

We conducted research to determine some of the agronomic, economic, and environmental risks associated with the use of winter rye cover crop in no-till organic soybean production systems. Our objectives were to determine the effect of rye management (plowing, crimping, and mowing), and soybean planting date (mid-May or early June) on soil moisture availability, [...] More »

WICST Yield Summary 1993-2009 at Arlington

Annual crop yields of each phase of each system (averaged across 4 reps) of WICST at Arlington, Wisconsin.  from 1993-2009 which captures final years of Chemlite before it was terminated in 2010. More »

Chemlite: Corn Response to Commercial Fertilizer in Cropping System Three at Lakeland, 1997

During the first several growing seasons of the WICST project, corn yield in Cropping System Three was less than expected. Satellite studies were initiated in 1994 at both locations to determine if supplemental nutrients, applied as starter, side dress N or a combination could increase yield. Results through 1996 are reported in the [...] More »

Addressing Organic Corn and Soybean Plant Populations in WICST

An important strategy for obtaining economic yields is ensuring good stand establishment. In conventional systems, in addition to using high quality seed, farmers rely on effective chemical seed treatments to help ensure vigorous stands. For a number of years, however, the WICST organic plots have had difficulties in achieving target populations of corn [...] More »

Analysis of WICST Cropping System-5 Alfalfa K Fertilization Trial

After approximately 15 years, several plots in the organic dairy rotation (CS5; corn-oats/alfalfa-alfalfa) of WICST have soil test K (STK) levels that have decreased to the optimum level or below so alfalfa yield may be limited. This is despite manure applications in 2 out of 3 years of this rotation. Potassium sulfate (K2SO4) [...] More »