Organic Field Crops: What Works
Thursday, Sept. 6, 2012
Directions from Interstate 39: get off at the Illinois 38 exit and go East on 38 to County Highway 6 (or 2nd Street), go South to Malta Road and go East. Stay on South Malta Road and the property will be on the right.
Join fourth and fifth generation farmers, Aaron Butler and his father, Paul, to learn what works on a large-scale farm. Certified organic since 1997, they have been transitioning more acres each year, and currently farm a little over 1600 acres.
Crop production is their main focus. Their rotation includes corn, soybeans, wheat, oats and hay. Livestock also is part of the operation, with 100 head of sheep and around 25 horses boarded on the farm. Paul also rents a set of buildings to a small dairy farmer.
Aaron and Paul participate in on-farm research with two ongoing projects with the University of Illinois at this time. The first, led by Michelle Wander, is studying carbon sequestration in organically managed soils with two years of soil samples comparing organic to conventional soils. The second project, led by Dan Anderson, is studying the effects of cover crops on compaction. The researchers will be present to discuss their projects and preliminary findings.
Always looking to improve their organic system, they are trialing two new inputs: organic seed coating on corn, and using soybean meal as a nitrogen source for corn. They are also experimenting with tillage radishes as a cover crop for the first time this year, along with tried-and-true cover crops of alfalfa and clover.
This field day will provide plenty to think about for those who want to learn more about organic production methods as well as experienced organic farmers who want to improve their operations.
This field day is being co-sponsored by our friends at University of Illinois Extension and the Illinois Organic Grower's Association. We would like to thank them for their participation!