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July 13 Ashland Field Day To Feature Alternative Crops

Alternative crops for northern Wisconsin will be the focus of a field day July 13 at the Ashland Agricultural Research Station.

Tom Osborn, an agronomist at UW-Madison”s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, will discuss his efforts in developing high-yielding canola varieties adapted to regional soils and climates. Canola has a huge international market due to its “healthy” food-grade oil content. Visitors will view the station”s 10-acre canola field and Osborn”s research plots, which contain 40 different commercial and experimental canola varieties. Michigan State Extension agents will discuss their experience with canola in the Upper Peninsula over the past few years.

CALS agronomist Ken Albrecht will discuss efforts to develop improved varieties and production management strategies for kura clover and cup-plant.

Kura clover, a long-lived clover from Russia, can be used for pasture or in hay and silage systems. Although slow to establish, Kura clover will spread one or two feet per year, often choking out weeds like dandelions and quackgrass. Visitors will see four different plantings.

Cup-plant, a North American prairie native, shows promise as a high-yielding, high-quality perennial silage. It grows in moist, open prairies or meadows, and along streambanks. A 1998 planting at the Ashland station was 3 to 4 feet tall on June 15 this year.

The field day will run from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m Tuesday, July 13. The event is free. The Ashland station is 4 miles west of Ashland on U.S. Highway 2.