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PIGEON FALLS - Two panels staffed with experts and farmers will tackle innovative approaches to cropping and conservation basics during the annual UW Discovery Farms Conference, set for December 12. 

Megan Wallendal, Tom Novak, and Andy Kiefer are geared up for the split application expert panel. Panelists will describe their innovative approaches to nitrogen management on their own farms and the farms they work with. Moderator Dr. Brian Luck from the Biological Systems Engineering Department at UW-Madison will lead the panel and bring forth his knowledge on precision agricultural technologies.   

Wallendal is a farmer on Wallendal Farms in Grand Marsh, WI. Wallendal Farms operates 3,200 acres of irrigated land. The farm uses precision technology in a variety of ways and is not afraid to try something new to improve their system. When it comes to fertilizer, the Wallendal’s “smart apply” according to soil type and timing of crop needs. This approach helps the farm minimize loss and improve their bottom line. 

Novak is a farmer and owner of a crop consulting business, Total Crop Management, LLC, in Sullivan, WI. Tom grows corn grain, soybeans, and vine crops –  primarily winter squash, some pumpkins, and other specialties. His farm uses both strip-till and no-till and he incorporates cover crops into his rotations.

Novak's interest in nitrogen rates and timing began 25 years ago when he implemented side-dress N applications on his farm. This led to over a decade of replicated on-farm N rate studies in conjunction with Larry Bundy and Matt Hanson at UW-Madison. This right rate at the right time quest continues to be the bane of his existence. 

Andy Kiefer is a conservation agronomist for the Outagamie County Land Conservation Department by day and a farmer on his family’s organic dairy by morning and night. Kiefer works with farmers to find conservation practices that improve soil health and reduce their dependence on tillage; thereby reducing their vulnerability to runoff.

Conservation practices on Kiefer's operation include strip-till, no-till, cover crops, and low disturbance manure injection. Two recent successes have been injecting manure into growing cover crops and also injecting manure into growing corn and soybeans.

Second panel

New at this year’s conference, the second panel will close out the day by bringing back speakers and panelists for a reality check. Talking about the uses and benefits of new technology is easy, putting technology into practice can be a challenge. Attendees will get a chance to ask this panel tough questions about implementing new practices with mother nature and the checkbook in mind. This panel and talks throughout the day will leave participants with tools needed to strategize and be successful back home. 

See the split application panel and reality check panel at the 6th Annual UW Discovery Farms Conference on December 12, 2017, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. at the Glacier Canyon Conference Center in Wisconsin Dells. Registration is $50 or $40 for members of sponsoring organizations with code UWDF10. A noon meal and materials are included in registration.

To see the full agenda and register, visit www.uwdiscoveryfarms.org. For more information, contact Erica Olson at Erica.olson@ces.uwex.edu or 715-983-5668. 

 

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