Suggestions for Young Farmers?

This spring I had the pleasure of interviewing a diverse group of established cash crop farmers for a Sustainable Corn Project video. These farmers strongly recommended purchasing crop insurance. Farmers run the risk of losing a large amount of money in just one or two growing seasons, but crop insurance will help cover this potential loss. These farmers also emphasized stewardship: taking good care of the soil for profitability, for sustainability, and for future generations who will farm that soil. Some of these farmers also suggested that young farmers consider farm management practices that build crop resiliency to minimize the potential impacts of extreme weather.

What advice would YOU give to young farmers? What would you tell a young person who wants to go into farming in the future? (Click on the “conversation bubble” above or leave a comment below to share a suggestion.)

Planting Date Effects on Corn Silage Yield and Quality

Joe Lauer, University of Wisconsin – Madison

We have written quite a bit about planting date effects on corn grain yield (high moisture and dry corn).  What about its effects on corn silage?  As planting date becomes more delayed, there is an increased likelihood that fields intended for grain will be harvested for silage, especially if the year remains cool.

Figure 1. Corn forage yield response of full-season hybrids (104-108 RM) to planting date during 2003 to 2012 at Arlington, WI (N= 235 plots).

Figure 1. Corn forage yield response of full-season hybrids (104-108 RM) to planting date during 2003 to 2012 at Arlington, WI (N= 235 plots).

The grain yield response of full-season hybrids to planting date at Arlington for the last 10 years has been described previously.  These treatments were established using 8-row plots; four rows were harvested for silage Continue reading

Farmers Ecouraged to Contact Insurance Provider about Haying or Grazing a Cover Crop this Spring


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

News Release from the USDA Risk Management Agency, Contact: Dustin Vande Hoef, 515-281-3375.

DES MOINES –Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey today encouraged farmers with cover crops to contact their insurance provider if they are interested in haying or grazing after May 10, 2013.  The USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA) has provided new guidance that insurance providers may allow farmers to continue to hay or gaze the cover crop until May 22, 2013. Continue reading

Speed Science

Want to learn a lot about crops, climate, culture, and change, all in a short period of time?  Check out the Speed Science Resources available on our website.  They include both factsheets and short videos and are approved for use in educational, research, and extension settings.  Factsheet topics vary from the nitrogen cycle, to cover crops, to drainage water management.  The videos cover climate change, soil core sampling, modeling and analysis of soil, and many other topics.  Here’s an example of a video.  Check it out and tell us what you think!

Sustainable Corn


Sustainable Corn is a five-year project gathers data from 26 field sites in eight Midwestern states and focuses on ways to best promote the long-term sustainability and productivity of corn-based cropping systems.  We are assessing the environmental, economic and social impacts of shifting weather patterns and increasing long-term climate variability on the system. Extension and education programs are working with farmers, teachers and students to connect them with project analyses and promote collaborative learning. Continue reading