Burkhardt, Trinrud families host crop tour field days

Dan Hansen
Correspondent
This random corn sample was from the Trinrud farm.

THORP and WAUPACA – New for 2021, the fourth annual Crop Tour, sponsored by Swiderski Equipment, featured two field days making it more convenient for central Wisconsin growers to attend, and providing the opportunity to see field-trial results from two different areas of central Wisconsin.

The first field day was held at J&L Burkhardt Farms near Thorp in Clark County; the second was held two days later at Trinrud’s Whitetail Valley Acres west of Waupaca.

Burkhardt Farm

Joe Burkhardt and his father, Leon, currently operate the 1,000-acre crop farm that was purchased by Leon in 1970. “We milked cows up until 2010,” said Joe. “After we sold the cows we did more cash cropping, which we had been doing while we milked cows. We also do custom baling.”

Crops are mainly corn and soybeans on a 50-50 rotation. “We also raise 300 acres of hay, which is stored in our barn and then sold to area farmers,” Joe explained.

J&L Burkhardt Farms hosted the Thorp field day. From left are Joe, Landen and Leon Burkhardt.

A 22-acre field was the site of their field-day corn trial. “They planted a 91-day Pioneer variety across the entire field using a White 12-row planter,” Joe noted.

Prior to planting the field, which was in corn last year, they made one pass with a chisel plow last fall, “and this spring we did one pass with a new Great Plains Qualidisc, a hybrid tillage tool that uses an exclusive cone-shaped disc design able to aid in  seedbed leveling for smoother planting,” Joe said.  

“Planting was done just the way we farm. There was nothing done to boost the yield. It was an honest test,” Joe said “When we take it off we’ll combine it and weigh so many feet of each row, and do a shell check from each different test plot.”

Trinrud farm

Brad and Ruth Trinrud, and their children, Jensen and Griffin, currently operate their fifth-generation dairy and crop farm in western Waupaca County.

The family farms 1,600 acres. In addition to corn, the Trinruds also grow soybeans and alfalfa. 

“We milk 300 Holsteins in a double-10 herringbone parlor. All young stock is raised right on the farm. Cows are grazed during their dry period, and heifers also spend some time on pasture” said Ruth. 

The host farm in the Waupaca trial was Trinrud’s Whitetail Valley Dairy, owned by Ruth and Brad Trinrud, center, and their children, Jensen and Griffin.

Trial process

Both trials are designed to show the results from different planting techniques, as well as mistakes that might be made during the planting process, according to Swiderski’s Precision Farming specialist Cody Miller. “We used different planting depths, along with applying different amounts of down pressure and closing wheel pressure on the planter. 

"On part of the fields we simulated having a bad plate in the planter with skips, showing what the yield would look like with sporadic planting,” he related. “The trial is designed to show the results from different planting techniques, as well as mistakes that might be made during the planting process.”

In the Waupaca test field the soil has a fair amount of sand. The Thorp field consists mainly of silt loam.  

“The biggest difference between the two is that the Thorp site has a tillage history, while the Waupaca plot has a no-till history of more than 10 years,” noted Miller.

Planting on the Waupaca field was done on May 7 with the same White planter, but utilizing a different 96-day Pioneer hybrid.

“With any of the seed genetics, there are certain ones that do better in certain soil types and climates. We try to pick the best one for the ground,” said Miller.

Harvesting on both fields is anticipated to begin around the middle part of October. The crop tour field days team is expected to publish harvest results of the trial later in the year.