OGRAIN field days to showcase innovations in organic grain and forage production

The University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Organic Grain Resource and Information Network (OGRAIN) will host a series of four field days this summer highlighting innovations in the production of organic feeds, forages, and food-grade grains. The field events will cover numerous regenerative organic practices, including new equipment for managing cover crops, diversified crop rotations, and novel cover cropping/relay cropping strategies that are of interest to both conventional and organic farmers looking to improve their soil health and resilience.

Equipment Showcase Field Day, July 10
The kick-off to the summer field day series will occur on July 10 at the UW–Madison Arlington Agricultural Research Station, located at N695 Hopkins Rd, Arlington, WI. This event will highlight the use of equipment in organic grain production, including planters, row cultivators, finger weeders, tine weeders, rotary hoes, guidance systems, inter-row mowers, and roller-crimpers. Researchers, farmers, and industry experts will be available for this hands-on field demonstration, highlighting how to optimize the performance of these tools and discussing which equipment might be the best fit for specific organic grain farming operations. 

Keith Speltz Farm Field Day, July 20
The second field day of the season will occur on July 20 on the Speltz Farm in Altura, MN. This event, co-sponsored by Albert Lea Seed, Organic Valley, and Elba Coop & Creamery, will showcase the use of warm season annuals/forages, equipment modifications for different crop spacings, and strategies to reduce tillage in organic grain rotations.

Food-Grade Grains Field Day, Aug. 4
The third event, set for Aug. 4, will be held at Janie’s Farm and Mill in Ashkum, IL. It will be hosted by Ross and Harold Wilken, Marbleseed’s Farmers of the Year, who will walk participants through their strategies to manage a successful organic food-grade grain operation and give a tour of their organic grain mill. This event is co-hosted by Marbleseed and the Artisan Grain Collaborative. 

UW Organic Agriculture Research Field Day, Aug. 31
The final field event, the annual UW Organic Agriculture Research Field Day, will be held at the UW–Madison Arlington Agricultural Research Station on Aug. 31. It will feature the latest research related to organic grains and forages, covering topics such as organic strip till corn, dry beans, Kernza, roller-crimped soybeans, sunflowers, camelina-soybean relay cropping, and interseeding crops into 30- and 60-inch corn.

“Organic farmers are always innovating to find the best options for weed control and soil health in their systems,” says OGRAIN program leader Erin Silva, professor and extension specialist in the UW–Madison Department of Plant Pathology, who is the university’s Clif Bar Endowed Chair in Organic Agriculture and Outreach. “These field days provide an opportunity to share ideas and support learning between farmers, including those interested in transitioning to organic, actively transitioning, or currently certified organic operators.”

Register and learn more at

For more information, contact Hannah Francis at or (608) 262-4592.