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  • By Lynda Kiernan-Stone, Global AgInvesting Media

University of Wisconsin to Begin Monitoring Cash Grain Operations

The University of Wisconsin’s Discovery Farms Program has been monitoring water quality on farms with manure applied to forage crops to determine the water quality impacts on different types of farming operations for 12 years, but now the program has announced it is adding a 3,000 acre cash grain operation to its monitoring sites.

The new research initiative will involve monitoring a cluster of farms within 20 miles of each other to give researchers the opportunity to determine what are the causes behind the losses in one farming system compared to others. Once determined, the team can make management suggestions for each type of farming operation.

Cash grain systems are incredibly important to both Wisconsin's economy and its water resources,” says Amber Radatz, UW Discovery Farms co-director, “It is time to provide better information for our state's grain focused farmers."

During the first three-year rotation, the team will monitor nutrient loss from fields rotating between two years of strip-tilled corn and one year of no-till soybeans, and during the second three-year rotation, one site will use cover crops while a second will not, so the team can compare the losses between the two.

Grain farmers will be able to see how their losses compare to other types of farming systems and will be better able to make adjustments to their production practices where needed.

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