Organic Research Forum


Research poster 2 Research poster 1 Research poster 3

The Organic Research Forum at the annual MOSES Organic Farming Conference features a juried Poster Gallery and a special track of workshops to bring current research directly to organic and sustainable farmers.

The Organic Research Forum is supported in part by Ceres Trust and Annie’s Homegrown.


Research published in the Organic Broadcaster newspaper

Current research project highlights

MOSES 2017 Organic Farming Conference research workshops

2017 Organic Research Forum Posters

The Organic Research Forum at the 2017 MOSES Conference includes a poster session documenting completed and ongoing research projects related to organic agriculture. The following abstracts will be presented:

The Use of Bokashi as a Soil Fertility Amendment in Organic Spinach Cultivation
Dana Christel and Josef Görres, University of Vermont

Organic Weed Management Systems for Corn and Soybean in the Midwest
Ricardo Costa, Jill Staples, Kimberly Griffin, Dr. Kerry Clark and Dr. Reid J. Smeda, University of Missouri- Columbia

Optimizing a Mass Trapping System Design for Organic Control of Japanese Beetles
Jaime C. Piñero and Austen Dudenhoeffer, Lincoln University Cooperative Research and Extension

The Impact, Challenges And Opportunities Of Growing Organic Fruits, Vegetables And Herbs In High Tunnels In The Midwest
Analena Bruce, Indiana University – Bloomington

Combining Ability for Husk Extension and Corn Earworm Resistance
Virginia Moore, University of Wisconsin – Madison

Soil Health Tests for Organic Growers that Reflect Organic Matter Stabilization vs. Mineralization
Tunsisa T. Hurisso, Steve W. Culman, The Ohio State University

How Does Cover Crop Composition Affect the Soil Nitrogen Environment?
Elle Lucadamo, University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign

Soil Aggregation is Affected by Crop Phase in Organic Row Crop Rotations
Monica Daane, Erin Silva, Gregg Sanford, Lawrence Gary Oates, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Temporal and Management Strategy Effects on Labile Carbon and Nitrogen Pools at WICST
Kalyn M. Diederich, Kavya Krishnan, Matthew D. Ruark, Erin Silva, University of Wisconsin-Madison

The Northern Organic Vegetable Improvement Collaborative (NOVIC)
Indigo Leslie, University of Wisconsin Madison

Organic Oat Variety, Seeding Rate and Fertility Trial
Lee Klossner, University of Minnesota, Southwest Research and Outreach Center

Integration of Insectary Plants with Trap Crops to Suppress Populations of Multiple Pest Species by Attracting Natural Enemies in the Cabbage Cropping System
Binita Shrestha, Deborah Finke, and Jaime C. Piñero, University of Missouri – Columbia

Understanding the Value of Tillage Radish and Perennial Cover Crops as Nutrient Sources for Field Crops
E. Evans and P. Pagliari, University of Minnesota, Southwest Research and Outreach Center

Assessing On-Farm Performance of Cover Crop Mixtures in Organic Vegetable Cropping Systems
Beth VanDusen and Jennifer Blesh, University of Michigan – Ann Arbor

The Relationship of Activity and Rumination Time with Mastitis in an Organic Dairy Herd
Glenda Pereira and Brad Heins, University of Minnesota, West Central Research and Outreach Center

Investigating the Effects of Compost Tea on Nutrient Cycling on an Organic Blueberry Farm
Emma Velis, Carleton College

Vegetable Crop Performance, Soil Quality, and Weed Suppression as Impacted by Tillage System and AMF Inoculant
Kenneth Paul Beamer, Greta Gramig, and Patrick Carr, North Dakota State University

The Influence of Organic and Conventional Production Environments on Breeding for Carrot Top Size
Charlene Grahn, Erin Silva, Philip Simon, University of Wisconsin- Madison

Efficient Methods to Develop New Sweet Corn Cultivars for Organic Systems
Jared Zystro and William Tracy, Organic Seed Alliance, University of Wisconsin – Madison

Tomato Varieties for Organic High Tunnel and Field Production in the Upper Midwest
Terry Hodge, Kitt Healy, Brian Emerson, Julie Dawson, University of Wisconsin – Madison

Analysis of Cultivar Selection and Planting Date for Industrial Hemp Production in Indiana
Leah Sandler and Dr. Kevin Gibson, Purdue University

Comparison of Fatty Acids and Consumer Acceptability of Dairy Steers Grazing Two Cover Cropping Systems
Hannah Phillips, Bradley Heins, Kathleen Delate, and Bob Turnbull, University of Minnesota, West Central Research and Outreach Center, Iowa State University, Ames, IA

Overcoming Tunnel Vision: Incorporating Cover Crops into Organic High Tunnel Rotations to Improve Soil Health
Liz Perkus, Julie Grossman, Mary Rogers, Steve Poppe, University of Minnesota

Effect of Planting Date and Cultivar on Cereal Rye Development and Termination for Organic No-Till Production Systems
Kristine Neu and Ajay Nair, Iowa State University

If you have questions, contact:

Jennifer Nelson, Research Forum Coordinator



Workshops at the 2017 MOSES Conference
see all Conference Workshops


Effective Weed Management
Matt Liebman, Iowa State University
Tom Frantzen, Frantzen Farm
Friday 1-a – 8:15 a.m.
Run ragged by giant ragweed? Hampered by waterhemp? Chagrined by other weeds? Then it’s time to develop and implement a better weed management plan. Learn how biology and ecology form the foundation for durable and effective weed management strategies, and see how simple population dynamics models provide accessible ways to explore your weed management options.

Cover Crops in Your Rotation
Erin Silva, University of Wisconsin – Madison Department of Agronomy
Friday 1-b – 8:45 a.m.
Organic farming systems love cover crops! Cover crops suppress weeds, attract pollinators and beneficial insects, build soil organic matter, and improve soil health. Learn how to include a wide variety of cover crops and cover crop mixtures in your row crop and vegetable rotations. We’ll cover techniques such as interseeding into established row crops and vegetables, using cover crops as living and killed mulches, and planting alley ways and insect habitats.

Organic Grain: From Seed to Loaf
Andrea Hazzard, Hazzard Free Farm Grains & Beans
Jullie Dawson, University of Wisconsin – Madison
John Wepking, Bickford Organics
Friday 1-b – 8:45 a.m.
There’s a growing demand for high quality organic small grains for use by artisanal bakers, brewers and chefs. We’ll cover what buyers want when purchasing organic local grains, and current research on varieties that can improve production in the Upper Midwest, and meet food quality standards. We’ll also discuss crop rotations, fertility needs, harvest considerations, storage, processing, and pest, weed and disease management.

Organic No-Till for Field Crops
Francis Thicke, Radiance Dairy
Kathleen Delate, Iowa State University, Organic Ag Program
Friday 2-a – 10:30 a.m.
Tillage has been the go-to to manage weeds in organic row crops. Yet tillage can negatively impact soil health. We’ll talk about ways to offset the negative effects of tillage and methods that greatly lessen the need for tillage. We’ll also share the latest research on planning, planting and managing rolled or mowed rye or other cover crops that improve soil health, lessen erosion and even provide some pest and disease protection for the cash crop.

Grant Writing for On-Farm Research
Margaret Krome, Michael Fields Agricultural Institute
Diane Mayerfeld, University of Wisconsin – Extension
Friday 2-b – 11 a.m.
Join two experienced grant writers to learn how to design on-farm research to provide meaningful answers. We’ll identify potential funding sources and help you maximize your grant-writing success. Discover skills you already have to help you succeed.

How Many Acres to Make a Living?
John Hendrickson, Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems (CIAS) University of Wisconsin – Madison and Stone Circle Farm
Friday 3 – 3:30 p.m.
Whether you’re thinking of scaling up, downsizing, or just starting to farm, join this discussion on how to scale your farm to meet your income and quality of life goals. We’ll look at research and veteran growers’ experience to give you realistic benchmarks on income and labor per acre for vegetables, flowers, fruit, and other specialty crops.

Climate Change & Agriculture
Dennis Todey, USDA ARS – National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment
Saturday 1-a – 8:15 a.m.
Climate change has an undeniable effect on agriculture. Learn about research on Plains and Corn Belt climate issues, outlooks, climate change and other current climate and weather issues for agriculture and water. Plus see USDA information on climate and crop yield interactions as impacted by climate variations and trends, and tools for measurement.

Manage Spotted Wing Drosophilia
Mary Rogers, University of Minnesota, Department of Horticulture
Aaron Wills, Little Hill Berry Farm
Saturday 3 – 3:30 p.m.
Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD) is challenging fruit and berry growers across the country. Learn about organic management strategies from multi-state research, plus new data on monitoring and trapping, habitat manipulation, exclusion, and organic-approved pest management products.


Poster Winners from 2016 Organic Research Forum


Research Forum Judges: Jim Riddle (Ceres Trust), Brad Heins (UMN), Kathleen Delate (ISU), Ruth Genger (UW), Erin Silva (UW) and Jessica Shade (The Organic Center).

First Place:

Forage Quality of Two Different Pasture Systems Incorporating Warm and Cool Season Forages for Grazing Organic Dairy Cattle
Kathryn Ruh, Brad Heins, James Paulson, University of Minnesota

Kathryn Ruh






Second Place:

Do Benefits from Cover Crops Vary by Species or Mixture Composition?
Ashley Holmes, Anthony Yannarell,
Sam Wortman, University of Illinois
Ashley Holmes






Third Place:

The Influence of Organic and Conventional Production Systems on Breeding for Carrot Top Height
Charlene Grahn, Erin Silva, Philip Simon, University of Wisconsin – Madison
Charlene Grahn









From the Organic Broadcaster:

research-steers-on-ryeResearch looks at integrating crops, livestock to enhance organic farm resilience
November | December 2016

Integrating crops and livestock on a multi-function operation could have multiple benefits and the potential to improve the profitability of these kinds of operations. Read more.


chicken - jessiResearch shows fishmeal improves poultry performance
September | October 2016

Recently completed research by the Fertrell Company of Bainbridge, Penn., indicates that broiler chickens fed a ration including fishmeal grow larger and have better feed conversion than those without the nutritional supplement. Read more.


Research moves forward on organic corn that won’t cross with transgenic varieties
July | August 2016

Maize, commonly called corn, is an incredibly productive crop that works well in organic crop rotations in many parts of North America. Since the lax release of transgenic varieties of maize (corn carrying DNA from other species)…. Read more.


Study looks at impact of warm season annual grasses for grazing organic dairy cows
May | June 2016

Milk production is directly related to dry matter intake, which is directly related to the amount of available dry matter in pasture. For cows grazing pasture to be productive…. Read more.


Experiment explores impact of amendments on soil microbial communities
March | April 2016

Organic farming is based on the understanding that soils are not just a place for plants to sit—they are complex living systems, home to an enormous diversity of organisms from the tiniest bacteria to earthworms and insects. Read more.


Research documents labor efficiencies on organic diversified vegetable farms
January | February 2016

One of the biggest challenges for diversified vegetable growers, particularly those just starting their farm business, is determining their cost of production in order to set prices that ensure a profit. Read more.


Research No-till soy early-season

Research at Iowa State University shows how no-till works in organic system
November | December 2015
No-till or reduced tillage has been proven to provide multiple environmental benefits on conventional farms, particularly in the area of soil conservation… Read More.


Research evaluates green manures as fertilizer in organic soybean-winter wheat-corn rotation
September | October 2015

Farmers can grow a green manure crop between winter wheat harvest in July and corn planting the following May. Green manures are plants grown specifically…. Read more.


Research shows farmers use mob grazing for variety of benefits
July | August 2015

For those of us interested in grass-based agriculture, mob grazing is likely not a new concept. We’ve heard the mob-grazing gurus talk at conferences, read the articles…. Read more.


Research shows organic fermented grape extract works as natural dewormer in lambs
May | June 2015

Gastrointestinal nematode parasitism is one of the greatest threats to economic sheep production in the United States. With increased incidences of anthelmintic resistance and constraints of organic production…. Read more.


Research shows biodegradable mulch film slow to degrade in field
March | April 2015

Biodegradable biobased mulch film was added to the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances for organic production in October 2014. Read more.


Research identifies potato varieties that do well on Midwest organic farms
January | February 2015

The potato is an important staple food—globally the fourth largest food crop after maize, wheat and rice.  Read more.


Integrated systems approach needed to control fire blight without antibiotics
November | December 2014

There is no cure for fire blight (FB), and there is no single “silver bullet” (including antibiotics) that will prevent FB infection. Successful non-antibiotic FB control combines….  Read more.


DCF 1.0Research moves forward on ‘organic-ready’ open-pollinated corn
September | October 2014

It has been known, at least since the 1950s, that popcorn cannot set seed if pollinated by yellow field corn. Another closely related plant called teosinte also shares….  Read more.


Research explores potential benefits of mixing cover crops
July | August 2014

The potential benefits of using cover crops are wide ranging and well documented. The potential benefits of using cover crop mixtures, however, have been less thoroughly explored.
Read more.


Research looks to cover crops to alleviate soil compaction, suppress weeds
May | June 2014

Rotary hoeing and in-row cultivation during the grain growing season help suppress weed populations. Read more.


Campbell Cover CropsResearchers evaluate precision cover cropping
March | April 2014

Implementation of specific cover cropping strategies that cost-effectively capture benefits while minimizing challenges is easier said than done. Read more Read more.


211rowflamerResearch highlights best practices for propane-fueled flame weeding
January  |  February 2014

Flame weeding has received renewed interest for its potential in not only organic, but also conventional cropping systems…. Read more.




Current Research

Organic Research and Outreach in the North Central Region – Most current
Produced by the Ceres Trust, the report includes state-specific details about student organic farms; certified organic research land and animals; sources of organic research funding; dissemination of organic research results through field days and peer-reviewed journals; organic education efforts of nonprofit organizations; and other relevant information.

United Nations Conference on Trade and Development: Wake Up Before it is too Late
To feed the world and save our environment, experts reporting to the United Nations 2013 Conference on Trade and Development recommend reversing course from high input, unsustainable, modern production methods and adopting organic and agroecological farming practices. See report here.

Organic Agriculture in Wisconsin Current
The University of Wisconsin Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems and the WI DATCP show that Wisconsin leads the nation in organic dairy and beef production. The report notes that the state has 1,257 certified organic farms, making it the second largest state for organic farming—California is first. The report includes additional statistics about organic agriculture and research in the state, as well as narrative about opportunities and challenges facing the state’s organic farmers.

Protecting Organic Seed Integrity:
The Organic Farmer’s Handbook to GE Avoidance and Testing

This manual from the Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association offers guidance on avoiding seed contamination and information about testing these at-risk crops: corn, soy, cotton, alfalfa, papaya, canola (Brassica rapa), sugarbeet, and squash (Cucurbita pepo).

Organic Farmers Pay the Price for GMO Contamination
Food & Water Watch in partnership with the Organic Farmers’ Agency for Relationship Marketing (OFARM) surveyed farmers in 17 states, finding that contamination from GMO crops is happening and it’s non-GMO farmers who are paying the price.

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