Novel dairy cropping systems to enhance economic and environmental resilience of Wisconsin dairy farms

PI: Veronica Justen

Justen is a professor of crop science at UW–River Falls. Her interests include plant breeding, field crop production, and enhancing diversified crop rotations with cover crops and hardy winter small grains.

Cover crops are a best management practice shown to have positive impacts on land and water resources by minimizing soil and nutrient loss from agricultural lands. Cover crop options for dairies in Wisconsin have mostly been limited to cereal rye established after corn harvest due to seasonal, machinery and crop production restraints. Interseeding cover crops into standing corn silage would provide additional opportunities for growers to establish cover crops and increase the diversity of cover crop species utilized. Identifying new cover crop varieties, including oilseed or tilling radishes, would expand opportunities to improve dairy farm resiliency. This project aims to enhance cropping system options for dairy farms by 1. Conducting interseeding cover crop trials in wide and traditional row silage corn, 2. Evaluating oilseed radish germ plasm to identify superior varieties for Wisconsin dairy farms and 3. Creating “Virtual Field Day” videos that demonstrate these cover crop systems to farmers and other agricultural professionals. This research will be conducted with collaboration from Jason Cavadini and Matt Akins from the Marshfield Agricultural Research Station and Matthew Oehmichen, a crop adviser with Short Lane Ag Supply.

Matt Akins