Research Forum

The last decade has produced an amazing growth of organic research projects at both public land-grant universities and private institutions. The Organic Research Forum helps bring that research directly to the organic farmers. The Organic Research Forum is a unique opportunity for farmers, students and researchers to connect and discuss current issues in organic agricultural research.

Organic Research Forum Workshops

The conference will highlight several workshops where researchers, and often the organic farmers that assisted, will present the findings and implications of their recent work. We have selected a broad range of agronomic, horticultural and livestock research projects from several research institutions throughout the Midwest and beyond.

Here are the 2014 Research Forum Workshops:

Controlling Weeds during Transition Years
Tim Reinbott, University of Missouri
Friday I – 8:30 a.m.

Weed pressure is the number one issue facing organic grain producers. Learn to suppress weeds with seven different rotation and production strategies, including no-tillage, winter and summer cover crops, crops such as sorghum x sudan, and variable yearly cash crop plantings.

Soil Compaction & Cover Crops in Organic Farms
Maria Villamil, University of Illinois
Friday II – 2 p.m.

Organic systems can succumb to a vicious cycle when mechanical weeding causes soil compaction, which favors weeds and requires additional tillage, creating further compaction. See results of on-farm research using deep-rooted cover crops alone and in mixtures to alleviate soil compaction and suppress weeds.

Flaxseed for Organic Dairy Cows
Andre Brito, University of New Hampshire
Friday III – 4 p.m.

Whole grain flaxseed in dairy rations can modify the profile of milk toward more omega-3 fatty acids and CLAs. Flaxseed meal, leftover after oil extraction, is rich in protein. Learn how feeding flaxseed impacts milk production and composition, feed efficiency, nutrient digestibility, methane emissions, and profitability.

Organic Dairy Forages across the Seasons
Heather Darby, University of Vermont
Saturday I – 8:30 a.m.

Summer annual forages—millet, sorghums, sorghumsudans, and teff—can complement pastures and be harvested for storage. Cool season annuals, such as cereal grains and brassicas, can extend the grazing season and allow for early season forage. Learn strategies for planting, harvesting, and feeding these forages to organic dairy cattle.

Precision Cover Cropping
Joel Gruver, Western Illinois University
Saturday II – 2 p.m.

Learn how precision planting equipment is being used for cover crops in organic grain production systems at the WIU/Allison organic research farm in Illinois. We’ll share results describing cover crop mixtures in specific row arrangements, and organic strip-till and no-till options using GPS guidance, plus field experiments with corn and soybeans.

Dried Beans in Organic Production Systems
Craig Sheaffer, University of Minnesota
Saturday III – 4 p.m.

Dried field beans provide an opportunity for diversifying organic crop rotations while growing nutritious food. See results from research of rotations using a variety of beans and tillage strategies, plus learn how researchers are improving beans’ biological dinitrogen fixation properties, weed competitiveness, and seed coat characteristics.

Labor on the Diversified Market Farm
John Hendrickson and Erin Silva, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Chris McGuire, Two Onion Farm, and Mike Noltnerwyss, Crossroads Community Farm
Saturday III – 4 p.m.

A lot of labor goes into growing 30 to 50 crops for farmers markets and CSA customers. Learn how specific crops, markets, farm scale, and mechanization all impact labor demands, labor allocation, profitability, and the farmers’ quality of life. We’ll look at data and real-life experience in this panel-led workshop.


Organic Research Poster Display

In addition to the workshops, additional organic research projects will be featured in a poster display. Check them out at your leisure, or stop by to discuss the work with the researchers in person.

The Organic Research Forum is funded through the generous support of The Ceres Foundation.

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Joe Pedretti, Workshop and Presenter Coordinator