Articles, Blog

Lower Fox Demonstration Farms Network

October 12, 2019

Green Bay Wisconsin the birthplaces of
the legendary green and gold is also home to the largest freshwater estuary
in the entire world Fox River and the Bay of Green Bay have attracted people to
Northeast Wisconsin for generations and have served as an essential natural
resource for those who call the region home agriculture is integral to the
local economy approximately 30 percent of Wisconsin’s milk is produced by
farmers here in the Northeast while that’s true that the region’s strong
agricultural presence has contributed to sediment and nutrient loading in local
waterways members of the Fox demo farms project are committed to being a part of
the solution here in the Fox River watershed our greatest concerns are the
total suspended solids and the total phosphorus loads that are going into
Green Bay and so we sit in a unique spot where agriculture plays a major role in
addressing those two factors the phosphorus and the suspended solids and
with the demonstration farms these six farms have really taken it upon
themselves to look at new approaches and new practices to address these two
issues that are occurring in the bay today we’re at Tindale Farms, Tinedale
Farms is one of six demo farms that we have in the lower Fox River Basin over
time we’ve lost a lot of the organic matter in these soils we want to try and
rebuild these soils and with the no-till or limited till practices that we’re
asking producers to do we’re gonna build those organic matter levels over time
went to a no-till planting we no-till everything in that we possibly can we do
a little bit of tillage but very minimal tillage here we got a tillage radish
this tillage radish is 16 inches in length this will help break up the soil
compaction in the ground but yet also feed the insects and break down for the
next season and this will die over winter we started rotational grazing a
year ago the first year we we grazed about 25 acres of 25 animals and this
year we expanded to about 100 acres we have I’d say about 100 animals out on
pasture some benefits to rotational grazing are that cattle you don’t have
to make the feed and bring it to them it’s out in the field already they can
help themselves you don’t have to worry about hauling
out manure or anything it’s already out where you need it’s a time-saver and a
money saver we’re working with three different pieces of equipment that we
wanted to take and instead of making three different passes over a field we
take and turned it into a one machine a one pass machine so we’re putting
nitrogen on our corn or interseeding our cover crop and we are doing a
cultivation pass all in one pass been using frost seeding in March in the
spring and then I’ve been using my no-till drill in the fall on the soybean ground and
the corn ground after comes off we’ve only been monitoring edge of field
runoff up here for about five years but we’re learning some really interesting
things and first and foremost is that sediment loss is an issue up here we’re
seeing sediment losses that are quite a bit higher than what we typically see
throughout the rest of Wisconsin the theme here is that if farmers can do a
better job at controlling sediment loss they’re also going to control phosphorus
and that’s going to improve water quality in Green Bay
we’ve had a number of field days where we’ve had great turnouts at those events
and so it may be at one of the demo farms and we are able to pull in 60-70
other producers that come in to be able to view a practice to ask those
one-on-one questions of the producer and to be able to take what was learned back
to their farm and either implement it tweak it and implement something a
little bit different that fits their system if you’re stuck on if you should
do it or shouldn’t do it I would just ask a neighbor or find a field that
somebody else did somebody’s always doing one somewhere and kind of learn
what they’re doing just track your cost and track what you’re getting for yields
I mean you’ll see it it’ll come what motivated me was what my dad ultimately
taught me take care of your land and your land and your land will take care of you I want to make sure that the dairy industry in agriculture does their part to make sure
that we stepped up to the plate and other people will follow to do that if I
don’t see the impact of it my kids will of my options that I’m doing here today
here at Vande Wettering farms we’ve been farming this property or this land for
five generations hopefully the practices that we’re using
to benefit the soil and stop erosion that they can continue to find with the
land they have. I see year after year the changes in it it’s just it’s exciting to
see that and that’s what I enjoy about it our efforts with the Fox River
demonstration farms ultimately leads to the success of this water system we all
together support the idea of protecting our watershed our water and our future
resources for future generations the Fox demo farms project is working to
restore our natural resources so that future generations can continue the
tradition of sustainable agriculture here in Northeast Wisconsin help us
share their stories and support their tremendous efforts thank you to the
farmers on the ground who are making the difference every day and helping our
land and improving our water resources

1 Comment

  • Reply Cosmic Pangolin January 9, 2018 at 5:39 am

    Good to see more regenerative practices in Wisconsin.

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