Digesting a summer and fall of learning

Posted on
December 19, 2023
Buffy Uglow    buffy_uglow@rockriverlab.com

By: Kerri Helwig, CCA

Before the thick of soil season, our team spent countless summer and early fall hours and miles hitting the roads of Wisconsin to visit various educational and tradeshow events. It was a lot to digest, but amazing to hear and see where this industry is and where it's headed. Our goal is always to share our knowledge with our customers, so we put together a quick-hit CliffsNotes version of our gleanings from the tour de agronomic learning that you might use in 2025 - after digesting this over a cup of coffee...or cocoa this winter. 

  • An updated version of FieldView comes with some pretty cool new features.
  • Snap 3 is planned to be in effect for 2025.
  • Silurian dolomite manure application restriction maps are almost ready and will be included in the next update of ATCP 50. Almost certainly not in time for the 2024 planning period, but likely for 2025.
  • Frass is an up-and-coming soil amendment, made of the waste of mealworms. High in Organic Matter (OM), it increases fertility and nutrient-holding capacity.
    • The mealworms are also harvested for oil and as a protein source for livestock (chickens love it).
    • They have ambitions to make the worms into a protein shake for humans one day (sounds gross but most protein powders already taste gross anyway, I'd try it TBH).
  • Stuff that regular row crop agronomists might not know/take for granted:
    • There are very specific harvest conditions for potatoes, all of which are monitored daily. (ex, soil moisture and temperature, air temperature, rainfall, humidity, etc.)
    • Potatoes are sprayed with fungicides weekly.
    • Cabbage grown for coleslaw is bigger than a basketball. Think about that for a minute. 
    • Sweet potatoes take longer to reach maturity, so they are first planted in a greenhouse before being transplanted into the field by hand. They also do not have any natural pests here, so growing sweet potatoes in WI is like making dinner in the crockpot. Set it and forget it until it's time to eat (harvest).
    • Automated systems now exist that can deflate radial tires from road PSI to a super low PSI for driving in the field. Lower PSI = less compaction.