Dodge County Farmers for Healthy Soil-Healthy Water held its August Field Day Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Vanderloop Equipment in Beaver Dam.
The sustainability-based farmer-led group has a mission of improving the community’s soil and water through conservation practices and education.
Tony Peirick and Marty Weiss of Healthy Soil-Healthy Water welcomed approximately 130 members of the public to the third annual event. By sharing experiences with other farmers, the group hopes to help others avoid obstacles and challenges.
Vanderloop Equipment is a family-owned business established more than 65 years ago in Brillion. Its Beaver Dam location, at N8766 Buckhorn Road, opened in 2016.
During the morning’s informational session, Doug Sutter and Carey Vanderloop explained the manure handling systems the business offers. Discussion topics included minimizing compaction and soil disturbance; agronomic, economic and environmental factors; managing phosphorus, solids and application rates.
Attendees were served a free brat fry lunch courtesy of the Beaver Dam High School FFA club.
Afternoon discussions with area Healthy Soil-Healthy Water farmers focused on reducing tillage. Michelle Scarpace from UW-Extension talked about soil health and biology, and a presentation about wheat and small grains and expanding rotations also took place.
Jordan Crave, part owner and agronomy manager at Crave Brothers Farm in Waterloo, said regular field day events serve an important purpose.
“We’re not only meeting and talking about soil health and water quality, but a lot of us are taking what we’ve learned and becoming better stewards of the land,” he said.
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Crave Brothers Farm has a manure lagoon and has adapted different systems to suit the farm’s needs.
“We’re trying to take advantage of incorporating manure into the soil but without moving the soil and disrupting the soil structure and causing a lot of tillage to happen,” he said.
Sutter and Peirick took the group outside to discuss how a manure injector with an umbilical reel can improve practices.
By using a manure injector, farmers have the ability to place nutrients directly into the seedbed limiting the chance of spilling while making less odor.
“It properly applies manure, with the correct timing and placement, so there aren’t problems with runoff,” Sutter said.
Peirick said manure is a very important nutrient for all crops.
“Manure is not a detriment, but a very good product when evenly applied,” he said.
For more information, go to dodgecountyfarmers.com.
Follow Kelly Simon on Twitter @KSchmidSimon or contact her at 920-356-6757.