Forage Council Regional Spring Meeting

2024 Midwest Forage Association/Outagamie Forage Council Regional Spring Meeting – Thursday, April 11 – 12:00 p.m. Lunch

Center Town Hall   N3390 State Road 47  Appleton, WI 54913

  • 12:00 p.m.  Lunch – All You Can Eat *Assorted Pizzas, Snacks, and Refreshments
  • 12:20 p.m. Machinery Traffic Considerations When Harvesting Alfalfa
    • Dr. Brian Luck, Biological Systems Engineering, UW-Madison & Division of Extension
  • 1:05 p.m.   Maximizing Nitrogen Efficiency on Winter Cereals and Annual Forage Crops
    •  Dr. John Jones, Soil Science, UW-Madison
  • 1:50 p.m.   Can We Optimize Nitrogen Rates with Biological Products?
    • Scott Reuss, Regional Crops and Soils Educator, UW-Madison Division of Extension Marinette, Langlade, Oconto, and Shawano Counties

Greetings Farmers and Agricultural Professionals,

I would like to invite you to attend our upcoming regional Outagamie Forage Council Spring Meeting on Thursday, April 11 beginning at 12:00 p.m. at the Center Town Hall. This event is designed to provide you with some insight and strategies to consider as we approach what could be a challenging 2024 planting season. Soil moisture samples pulled from six (6) fields in eastern Outagamie County on March 12, 2024 revealed soil moisture levels from 19-22% in the 0-6” range and 16-20% in the 6-12” range.

The earliest tillage I have ever observed in a new calendar year was deep chisel plowing occurring on January 1, 2020 (Greenville). However, not to be outdone, I have confirmation that secondary tillage occurred on some fields in Outagamie County (Town of Center Area) on Valentine’s Day 2024… Folks, we are just seeing things we haven’t before. If the enhanced probability (50-60% chance puts us squarely in the “Above” category) for warmer than normal temperatures does occur and our chances for precipitation are “Equal” (flip a coin… no strong leaning one way or another), this could be a case of de ja vu’ from a soil moisture perspective compared to last year.

Our first presenter, Dr. Brian Luck, Biological Systems Engineering, will discuss the latest findings on wheel traffic patterns in alfalfa. Dr. Luck has taken what we already knew about the importance of not only getting alfalfa off the field in a timely manner, but has utilized the latest in UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) technology and sensors to track harvesting and transport vehicles to analyze in depth what farmers should be considering when establishing driving patterns in alfalfa fields. Given the potential for the hotter and drier conditions our alfalfa fields may deal with in 2024, take some time to come and see what adjustments, if any, you may want to make about the pattern/traffic system you already have in place on your farm. Scales do not lie and Dr. Luck has research results that I think many will find helpful.

Dr. John Jones, Soil Science, has been a friend and cooperator with the Outagamie Forage Council for several years now helping with multi-year, multi-site MFA grant efforts to evaluate the Nitrogen needs of winter cereals and annual forage crops (Italian ryegrass and cocktail mixes). Just a couple of years ago, farmers and agronomic professionals were asking “How much N should we be putting on these crops?” After multiple years of efforts and data, Dr. Jones can now provide unbiased, research-based guidance on what farmers and crop consultants should be considering moving forward.

Lastly, there are a large number of biological products that are now available to farmers as another tool in their toolbox to consider when planning to meet the Nitrogen needs of their corn grain/corn silage crops.  Scott Reuss, Regional Crops and Soils Educator, will be sharing the results of the research trials he has been conducting here in Northeast Wisconsin the past few growing seasons. Scott has been conducting field research for Extension in NE WI for more than 25 years.

*We are ordering significantly more pizzas than we will need for the meeting. Our intent is for people to be able to take extra food and refreshments back to their farms to share with their families.

If weather and field conditions on April 11 result in many people being in the fields, consider sending one member of the family to this event to bring food back for those who are unable to make it.

Hope to see you at the Midwest Forage Association & OFC Spring Meeting for more than a free meal on April 11th!

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