Allison Farm Presentation


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I shared this presentation at the National Agronomy meetings in Pittsburgh, PA in November 2009

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Allison Farm Presentation

  1. 1. Experience with University Organic Research Farms I can’t find my way back to campus ! Dr. Joel Gruver School of Agriculture Western Illinois University [email_address] (309) 298 - 1215
  2. 2. Center for Environmental Farming Systems - Goldsboro, NC (2000-2006) Central Carolina Community College Land Lab - Pittsboro, NC (2001-2005) Hampshire College Farm Center Amherst, MA (1994) WIU Allison Organic Research Farm Roseville, IL (2007 – 2050 :->) * * * *
  3. 3. Farm manager/instructor, 1994-95
  4. 4. The mission of the Center is to provide students with an experiential education in applied design, invention, and entrepreneurship through engagement in applied design problem solving for social responsibility.
  5. 8. Farm manager/internship coordinator/instructor 2000-2006
  6. 9. Instructor 2001-2005
  7. 10. Cheryl was a student in my second class
  8. 12. The WIU Agriculture Department began renting a historically pesticide-free 80 acre farm in 1989. Multi-year leases have been negotiated in the past but currently we renegotiate our rent each year.
  9. 13. The WIU/Allison Organic Research Farm is located in southern Warren County, ~ 15 miles north-west of Macomb * 77 acres
  10. 14. No permanent storage structures may be constructed or maintained on the property.
  11. 15. On-farm storage in 2009
  12. 16. Sable silty clay loam Muscatune silt loam U of I productivity ratings for the farm’s dominant soils Corn = 180 bu/ac Soybean = 57 bu/ac Wheat = 68 bu/ac Corn = 180 bu/ac Soybean = 57 bu/ac Wheat = 68 bu/ac Neighboring farms have had whole farm averages > 220 bu/ac for corn in recent years
  13. 18. Field Map (2008) corn corn corn corn corn corn wheat wheat wheat cereal rye -> soybean wheat corn Corn (rye) Soybean Wheat (red clover) Standard crop rotation Soybean variety trial Wheat severely damaged by flooding Wheat severely damaged by flooding cereal rye -> soybean
  14. 19. Equipment owned by the WIU Organic Program: 4 row Buffalo ridge-till planter 4 row Buffalo cultivator 10’ Howard rotavator Propane Flamer 11’ rotary hoe This equipment is stored on neighboring farms during the off-season. One tractor (~ 150 hp) is rented each season. All other equipment is rented on a short-term basis from neighboring farms. Purchased in 2008
  15. 20. Equipment rented in 2007 140 HP Agco Tractor 190 HP White Tractor 110 HP Case IHTractor 55 HP JD Tractor 33 HP Case IH Tractor ATV with spinner seeder 15’ JD 750 no-till drill 20’ Aerway 20’ Flail mower 3,000 gallon Honey Wagon 6’ Bush hog mower 20’ Batwing mower 20’ Soil Finisher 20’ Disk Gravity wagon The Agco tractor was rented for the season from a local equipment dealer. All other equipment was rented from local farmers.
  16. 21. Collaboration with neighboring farmers is essential
  17. 22. Neighboring farmers are promptly compensated at rates based on U of I or IA State Custom rate/Machinery Cost Estimates
  18. 23. We have come a long way in terms of public perception!
  19. 24. “ WIU Agriculture Research technician Andy Clayton demonstrated the farm’s new Ag Leader guidance system while Crawford and his son took aerial photos of the Allison Farm using their CropCam plane.” Local newspaper article about our 2008 summer field day: Organics = innovation!
  20. 25. Overview of research at the Allison Farm Early research focused on site characterization (chemical, physical and biological soil properties) Subsequent research has evaluated the impact of tillage systems, crop rotation, seed treatments, crop varieties, cover crops and soil amendments on agronomic crop yield, seed quality, weed pressure and cropping system economics. Most but not all research has involved large plots and standard size farm equipment.
  21. 27. <ul><li>Cooperators and Supporters (Past and Current) </li></ul><ul><li>Special Recognition: </li></ul><ul><li>Doris and Joe Foust </li></ul><ul><li>Owners of the Allison farm </li></ul><ul><li>Dr. Gerald Vigue </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Retired; Professor of Agriculture at WIU and Program Director of Allison Sustainable Ag/Organic Research Farm from inception until 2006 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Dr. Gerald Carlson </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Retired; Chair of WIU School of Agriculture and Director of Mid-West Area ARS-USDA - original project design and data analyses </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Dr. Dave Johnston </li></ul><ul><li>Former professor of Agriculture at WIU who located the farm in 1989 </li></ul><ul><li>Dr. Rick Hirschi </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Brigham Young University-Idaho; Agriculture Economist- analyzed farm economic data and conducted an organic farm survey </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Mr. Tim Howe </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Research Associate (1991-2000) </li></ul></ul>ANDY CLAYTON – Research technician extraordinaire!!
  22. 28. <ul><li>Collaborating farmers </li></ul><ul><li>Mr. Mark and Harold Anderson </li></ul><ul><li>- research ideas, tech support, storage equipment and services </li></ul><ul><li>Mr. Kenneth and Jim Anderson </li></ul><ul><ul><li>- hay services </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Mr. Rodney Byers </li></ul><ul><ul><li>- hay services and equipment rental </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Mr. Don Chipman </li></ul><ul><ul><li>- tech support, equipment and services </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Mr. Frank Craver </li></ul><ul><li>- hay services </li></ul><ul><li>Mr. Grant and Ron Curtis </li></ul><ul><ul><li>- planting, tillage, grain harvest and storage </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Mr. Lisle and Gene Dakin </li></ul><ul><li>- tech support and services </li></ul><ul><li>Mr. Terry Davis </li></ul><ul><li>- past operator of the farm; research ideas, tech support, equipment and services </li></ul><ul><li>Mr. Steve Hall </li></ul><ul><li>- fertilizer application </li></ul><ul><li>Mr. Mike Hull </li></ul><ul><ul><li>- grain harvest </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Mr. John Huston </li></ul><ul><li>- storage for equipment </li></ul>
  23. 29. <ul><li>Mr. Francis, Ed, and Bill Kane </li></ul><ul><ul><li>- equipment and farm shop rental </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Mr. Dan Mowen </li></ul><ul><li>- grain harvest </li></ul><ul><li>Mr. Justin Overstreet </li></ul><ul><ul><li>- tech support and equipment operation and rental </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Mr. Louis and Jeff Reuschel </li></ul><ul><ul><li>- collaborated on research study </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Mr. Bob Strickler </li></ul><ul><ul><li>- equipment rental and services </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Mr. Leroy Tappe </li></ul><ul><ul><li>- hog manure, tech support and equipment operation and rental </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Mr. Pat Thomas </li></ul><ul><ul><li>- tech support </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Mr. Brad Wainman </li></ul><ul><ul><li>- support, equipment and services </li></ul></ul>More collaborating farmers
  24. 30. <ul><li>Equipment </li></ul><ul><li>A.C. McCartney Farm Equipment </li></ul><ul><ul><li>- tractor lease </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Mr. Curt Dambman - Buffalo Rep </li></ul><ul><li>- tech support </li></ul><ul><li>Mr. Andy Finck - Buffalo Rep </li></ul><ul><li>- tech support </li></ul><ul><li>AGCO Corporation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>- Massey Ferguson tractor at discounted lease rate, free use of Tye Drill and Paratill subsoiler </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Kuhns Equipment </li></ul><ul><ul><li>- tractor lease </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Heritage Equipment </li></ul><ul><ul><li>- provided discounted lease of equipment </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Fleischer Manufacturing, Inc. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>- provided Buffalo row crop planter at discounted price, technical assistance and training </li></ul></ul><ul><li>M&W Gear Company </li></ul><ul><ul><li>- donated 11 ft, high-residue rotary hoe </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Guy Machinery – Clyde Morter </li></ul><ul><ul><li>- provided a 10-ft Howard Rotavator at discounted lease and tech support </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Larry Riden - Riden Farm Supply, Inc. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>- assisted in the assembly of the Red Baron Flamer and provided the use of an LP tank </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Flame Engineering, Inc. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>-provided a four row flamer at a reduced lease rate and technical assistance </li></ul></ul>
  25. 31. <ul><li>Production Inputs </li></ul><ul><li>Clarkson Grain Company, Inc.- Roger Hendricker </li></ul><ul><ul><li>- provided seed for test plots, marketing support </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Midwestern Bio-Ag - Bob Yanda </li></ul><ul><li>- tech support and at discounted products </li></ul><ul><li>Blue River Hybrids - Maury Johnson </li></ul><ul><li>- provided seed for test plots and contributed to field day </li></ul><ul><li>Great Harvest Organics </li></ul><ul><ul><li>- provided seed for test plots </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Prairie Hybrid Seeds </li></ul><ul><li>- provided seed for test plots </li></ul><ul><li>Ampac Seed Company- Dave Robison </li></ul><ul><li>- provided seed for test plots </li></ul><ul><li>Midwest Grass & Forage- Scott Jones </li></ul><ul><li>- provided seed for test plots and tech support </li></ul><ul><li>Advanced Biological Marketing </li></ul><ul><li>- provided seed inoculant </li></ul><ul><li>Albert Lea Seed House </li></ul><ul><li>- provided seed for test plots </li></ul><ul><li>Welter Seed & Honey Co. </li></ul><ul><li>- provided seed for test plots </li></ul><ul><li>AgriEnergy Resources - Gary Campbell </li></ul><ul><li>- provided organic seed treatment products </li></ul><ul><li>Nitragin, Inc.- Kyle Luther </li></ul><ul><li>- provided legume inoculant </li></ul><ul><li>Agricoat LLC - Todd Zehr </li></ul><ul><li>- provided organic seed treatments </li></ul><ul><li>AgraQuest, Inc.- Brett Highland </li></ul><ul><li>- provided organic fungicide spray </li></ul><ul><li>Griffin Industries – Ken Quandt </li></ul><ul><li>- donated Nature Safe 13-0-0 fertilizer </li></ul><ul><li>ConAgra Foods/Vogel Seeds </li></ul><ul><li>- donated organic popcorn seed </li></ul>
  26. 32. <ul><li>Santa Cruz Natural, Inc.- </li></ul><ul><ul><li>organic beverages donation for annual field day - </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Stretch Island Fruit, Inc.- </li></ul><ul><ul><li>organic food donation for annual field day - </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Dagoba Organic Chocolate- </li></ul><ul><ul><li>organic food donation for annual field day - </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Sue Huber, Owner, Sibby's Homestead Organic Ice Cream, Westby, WI- </li></ul><ul><ul><li>donated organic ice cream for annual field day - </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Lotus Brands, Inc- </li></ul><ul><ul><li>William Collett- product donation for field day - </li></ul></ul><ul><li>AquaRanch Industries- </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Myles Harston- natural/organic food donation for field day - </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Dr. Bronner's Organic Soaps- </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ralph Bronner- organic products donation for field day - </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Nutritek, Inc.- </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Jim Troglia- natural insect repellant donation for field day - </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Steaz- </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Eric Schnell- organic soda donation - </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Oak Grove Organics- </li></ul><ul><ul><li>provided organic milk for field day - </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Choice Organic Teas- </li></ul><ul><ul><li>provided organic tea for field day - </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Uncle Matt's Organic- </li></ul><ul><ul><li>provided organic orange juice for field day - </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Blue Sky Beverage Company- </li></ul><ul><ul><li>provided organic soda for field day - </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Organic Food Bar- </li></ul><ul><ul><li>provided organic food bars for field day - </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Go Macro- </li></ul><ul><ul><li>provided organic food bars for field day - </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Eden Foods- </li></ul><ul><ul><li>provided organic food for field day - </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The Pure Bar- </li></ul><ul><ul><li>provided organic food bars for field day - </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Nature's Inventory- </li></ul><ul><ul><li>provided organic wellness oils for field day - </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Good Hope Gardens- </li></ul><ul><ul><li>provided organic produce for field day - </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Living Earth Farm, Farmington, Illinoia- </li></ul><ul><ul><li>provided organic produce for field day - </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Barefoot Gardens-Macomb, Illinois- </li></ul><ul><ul><li>provided organic produce for field day </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Indian Creek Farm-Jacksonville, Illinois- </li></ul><ul><ul><li>provided organic stew meat for field day </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Roger Hendricker Farm-Arenzville, Illinois- </li></ul><ul><ul><li>provided organic melons for field day </li></ul></ul><ul><li>A-maizing Corn Products-Janesville, Wisconsin- </li></ul><ul><ul><li>provided organic blue corn chips for field day </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Annie Moore & Family- </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Macomb, Illinois- field day meal preparation </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Amelia & Charlie Fox- </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Macomb, Illinois- field day meal preparation </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Hy-Vee- </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Macomb, Illinois- catering for field day and product donation </li></ul></ul><ul><li>West Prairie Farm, Macomb, Illinois- </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Provided grass-fed beef franks and hamburgers for field day </li></ul></ul>Field Day Supporters/Product Donors
  27. 33. <ul><li>Miscellaneous </li></ul><ul><li>Mr. Steve Elmer- USDA-NRCS Soil Scientist </li></ul><ul><li>- soil mapping and technical support </li></ul><ul><li>Western Illinois Sustainable Agriculture Society </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Cooperating farmer members </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Duane Mansir and Rick Winbigler </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>McDonough and Warren Co. Soil and Water Conservation Districts- </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>- day support, use of a ridge-till cultivator and guidance system </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Kent Woodford- Seeds and More, Inc.- </li></ul><ul><ul><li>consulted in crop management and weigh wagon use </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Mike Ward- Pioneer A DuPont Company- </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Sales Rep-provided seed for test plots </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Key Agricultural Services, Inc.- </li></ul><ul><ul><li>GPS analysis, crop and soil analysis </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Shawn Jones- Pioneer A DuPont Company- Agronomist </li></ul><ul><li>- provided seed for test plots </li></ul><ul><li>Rex Johnson- Pioneer A DuPont Company- Sales Rep </li></ul><ul><li>- provided use of weigh wagon </li></ul><ul><li>Glen Barber- Beck's Hybrids- District Sales Rep </li></ul><ul><li>- provided use of weigh wagon and field day support </li></ul>
  28. 34. Nature Safe 13-0-0 Most of the inputs that we evaluate are donated or provided at a significant discount but little funding is provided to support research
  29. 35. Detailed Enterprise Budgets Revenue ( e.g., crop sales and government payments ) Expenses ( e.g., seed, fertility inputs, field operations, grain hauling ) Net income ( not including cash rent ) - calculated on a per acre basis for most fields since 2000.
  30. 36. 2006 budget Field # 4-1 Planted 6/8/06, 30” rows Notes Management Conventional Till; Commercial organic fertilizers Corn–Soybean-Wheat/clover rotation Soybean Yield 36 bu/acre Variety: “ J-30” from Clarkson Grain Revenue Soybean Sales $488.88/acre $14.75/bu (food-grade contract) (actual price paid = $13.58/bu) Govt. Payment $31.63/acre DCP = $18.48/ac & CC = $13.15/ac Total Revenue $520.51/acre Expenses Seed: Soybeans Rye $0/acre Free from Clarkson Grain for contract $11.34/acre 81 lb/ac @ $0.14/lb Fertilizer(s) $24.96/acre Amortized cost of previous applications Field operations $117.80/acre (no-till rye 11/05 = $12.65) (disk 2X = $18.10) (soil finish = $9.20) (plant = $11.45) (rotary hoe 2X = $11.40) (cultivate 2X = $15) (walk beans $15)(harvest = $25) Grain Hauling $0/acre FOB Total expenses $154.10/acre Net Income $366.41/acre
  31. 37. 10 - 15 soybean varieties and 4-6 corn hybrids are evaluated each year
  32. 38. What crop is this?
  33. 39. Field Pennycress ( Thlaspi arvense ) World’s first N rate study on field pennycress 4 reps x 5 rates 0 > 25 > 50 = 75 = 100 lbs N/acre
  34. 40. Field Pennycress ( Thlaspi arvense ) World’s first N rate study on field pennycress ??? 4 reps x 5 rates 0 > 25 > 50 = 75 = 100 lbs N/acre
  35. 41. Cover crop experiment at the WIU/Allison Farm Forage radish drilled 1 st week of August ’07 following wheat
  36. 42. Early January 2008
  37. 43. The experiment was planted to corn Blue River 66P32 30,000 seeds/acre on May 29 2008 No N was added Weed pressure was lower in the solid radish plots but there were no clear differences with respect to crop appearance
  38. 44. Some very interesting yield results !! Treatment Rep Yield monitor (bu/acre) Trt Average clover/oats 1 160.3 clover/oats 2 164.3 160.8 clover/oats 3 157.9 clover/ radish 1 170.6 clover/ radish 2 178.4 174.6 clover/ radish 3 174.7 clover/ radish /oats 1 179.0 clover/ radish /oats 2 191.4 170.2 clover/ radish /oats 3 140.4 radish 1 187.0 radish 2 178.7 183.5 radish 3 184.8
  39. 45. Some very interesting yield results !! slightly less impressive but more realistic Some contrasts are significant at 0.05 Treatment Rep Weigh wagon (bu/acre) Trt Average clover/oats 1 132.1 clover/oats 2 133.9 131.9 clover/oats 3 129.6 clover/ radish 1 137.2 clover/ radish 2 144.7 142.2 clover/ radish 3 144.7 clover/ radish /oats 1 145.4 clover/ radish /oats 2 156.5 139.5 clover/ radish /oats 3 116.5 radish 1 150.4 radish 2 147.5 149.0 radish 3 149.0
  40. 46. Tillage System experiment Conventional till Minimum till No-till Established in fall 08
  41. 48. October 2009
  42. 49. November 2009
  43. 50. January 2009
  44. 51. March 2009
  45. 52. April 2009
  46. 53. May 2009
  47. 54. Late May 2009
  48. 55. Early June 2009
  49. 58. ~1 week after planting
  50. 59. ~2 weeks after planting
  51. 60. July 2009
  52. 62. Early August 2009
  53. 63. Late August 2009
  54. 64. Late September 2009
  55. 65. 2 days ago
  56. 66. Early September 2009
  57. 67. Tillage radish on 30” rows with oats in inter-row 2 days ago
  58. 68. Tillage radish on 7.5” rows (~ 10 lbs/ac) 2 days ago
  59. 69. Where are the soybeans?? Traditional organic weed management often comes up short during wet years
  60. 70. 2010 Field Day theme = Systems Strategies for Weed Management New experiment comparing organic no-till vs. organic ridge-till soybeans
  61. 71. Our latest purchase??
  62. 72. Our summer intern borrowed this 24’ Salford RTS so that we could demo it :->
  63. 73. Student involvement with the Allison Farm Brent Bowen – 2009 Summer Intern
  64. 74. 2 “Twilight Tours” in 2008 and 3 in 2009 brought over 100 people to the farm including over 60 students and 20 farmers
  65. 75. IL State Rep Rich Myers
  66. 76. So why did so many students with conventional ag backgrounds decide to come out to an organic research farm? I talk about and show pics of the farm in every class!
  67. 77. WIU Cover Crop Innovator Project
  68. 78. Student: Which cover crops have you tried? how many acres? following/preceding which crops? Joe Nester replied: We just inter-seeded 14,000 acres of corn and soybeans with annual rye.  We used a helicopter service out of Minnesota to seed it.  We have used annual rye a year ago, seeding with drills after wheat and soybeans, but the planting date was too late to wait after beans.  Excellent where seeded after wheat about Sept. 1.  Our experience is limited, but the idea is really taking off, to hold the soil in place over the winter, keep nutrients within the field, and help with timely no-till planting in the spring.
  69. 80. Continuous no-till corn planted into hairy vetch Terry Taylor’s farm Geff, IL
  70. 81.
  71. 83. 5 of the “Cover Crop Innovators” and 3 of the student interviewers attended our 2009 Summer Field Day
  72. 84. If you can’t get the farmers to come to your farm, bring your students to the farmers…
  73. 93. Teaching methods Building learning communities of agricultural innovators INNOVATION Farming practices Research ORGANIC
  74. 94. You are all invited to attend the WIU Allison Organic Farm field day in August 2010 (or visit any other time).
  75. 95. Any questions?