Contributed by: Juneau County Land and Water Office (Wisconsin)
During their first full year as a DATCP producer-led initiative, The Producers of Lake Redstone have jumped in feet first. Planting 240 acres of cover crops within the watershed as well as planting 70 acres of innovative manure sharing cover crop test fields. These manure sharing fields allow the distribution of manure in the watershed to fields that wouldn’t normally receive manure. This practice not only builds up soil health, but allows farmers to spread manure during the growing season for crops to uptake the nutrients; reducing runoff as a result.
The two Discovery Farms edge of field monitoring sites installed in September of 2018 in the Lake Redstone Watershed recorded 10 runoff events in 2019, these events include spring snow melt and rainfall. Our busiest time for runoff was in March of 2019 with snowmelt, requiring all hands on deck to make sure the equipment was clear of ice and samples were collected in time for the next runoff event. If you are interested in viewing the USGS Real Time Data of the edge of field sites go to http://www. uwdiscoveryfarms.org/usgs-real-time-data
On July 30th of 2019 the Producers of Lake Redstone had their first field day. The 30 plus attendees included farmers, lake protection district members, and conservation staff. The event started at the Summit Park in Juneau County and from there we traveled to Brian Daugs farm to check out the work the producers are doing in the watershed and showcase the Discovery Farms edge of field monitoring equipment. Travel to the farm was a short tractor ride in a hay wagon, the ride allowed interaction and conversation between attendees. At the edge of field site, Brian Daugs, a beef and cash crop producer, talked about his farming practices at the site and on his farm. He is a 4th generation farmer who farms 550 acres, most of which are in the watershed, who is active in soil health and 22 years of no-till practices. Tom Schlough, a dairy farmer from Wegner Farms, also spoke about his efforts to inter-seed cover crops within the watershed, he believes that this conservation practice has not only improved his soil health but also the farm’s relationship within the Lake Redstone community. After lunch at Summit Park and a runoff demonstration with a rainfall simulator, the group proceeded to Lake Redstone where members of the Lake Redstone Protection District took the group on pontoon tours of the lake. Attendees were given a history of the lake and were able to see the dredging crew actively removing sediment from the lake. This field day gave producers and members of the Lake Protection District a unique opportunity to interact and share ideas about soil loss and water quality improvements in the fields and on the shoreline.
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