Discovery Farms Conference focuses on integrating practices for water quality, agronomic, and management benefits

On December 14, 2022, Dr. Will Osterholz, a Research Soil Scientist at USDA-ARS will kick off the Discovery Farms conference and present his findings on the relationship between soil health and water quality. Dr. Osterholz will share insights from recent research into soil and water quality linkages in Ohio and discuss implications for Wisconsin producers. The theme for this 11th annual conference is Stacking the deck: Integrating management practices for water quality, agronomic and management benefits. 

Two Nutrient Management and one Soil and Water Management continuing education units are available for Certified Crop Advisors. 

To learn more about how to integrate your conservation practices into a system that achieves agronomic and water quality goals, attend the annual Discovery Farms conference on December 14th from 9am to 3pm at the Glacier Canyon Conference Center, Wilderness Resort in Wisconsin Dells. Registration is $80 and includes lunch and snacks. Registration is now open online at Questions? email: 

Dr. Mike Castellano, Professor at Iowa State University Department of Agronomy will bring his perspectives and research on nitrogen optimization. Dr. Castellano has developed methods of forecasting optimum nitrogen fertilizer rates for productivity, profitability and environmental performance. This content will be especially relevant for Wisconsin’s newly funded $1.6 million Nitrogen Optimization Pilot Program, which will be introduced at the conference by agency representatives from the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. 

Listen to applied perspectives on nitrogen optimization during the afternoon panel. Attendees will hear from farmers and agronomists on how they are working to maximize plant nutrient use efficiency while minimizing water quality impact and how they may utilize the Nitrogen Optimization Pilot Program.

The day will also include a presentation from Dr. Xia Zhu-Barker, Assistant Professor from the UW-Madison Department of Soil Science. She will share her nitrogen use efficiency work on vegetable crops in California and discuss her research plans in Wisconsin, including nitrate leaching on WI cropping systems.

Discovery Farms and Natural Resources Conservation Service staff will bring attendees back to the basics with a presentation about the importance of grassed waterways and ways to make this practice work to achieve water quality, soil health, and agronomic goals. Grassed waterways are a conservation staple that Discovery Farms data show clearly pull their weight for managing soil loss, especially when used alongside other soil health practices.