The Michigan Wheat Program has been moving forward on behalf of the state’s wheat farmers throughout the past several weeks.
Some of what’s new can be found at miwheat.org.
The Summer Field Day, June 10 at the Saginaw Valley Research and Extension Center, will go on, but not in the usual, in-person manner. There will be videos and handouts (normally presented at the event) on the website showcasing research work with recommendations. A virtual presentation is being developed for that day, and more information will be posted to the website as it becomes available. The agenda and research reports will be posted under the Education and Previous Events tabs. Videos and reports from prior events also are available.
New research reports are continuously being added under the research tab. Dr. Kim Cassida’s report on using cover crops after wheat to improve soil health covers Michigan Wheat Program-sponsored research on the effects of a cover crop during the fallow period between wheat harvest and corn planting in Michigan.
It highlights how this time is a prime opportunity for double-cropping with a cover crop to improve soil quality, fix nitrogen and provide harvestable forage. However, the report acknowledges that many growers believe harvesting a cover crop will negatively affect future crop productivity. And, for years, the industry has lacked information on which cover crops are most appropriate for this situation.
Cassida’s study looked at nine cover crop species, planted in two sites for two consecutive years. All cover crops provided weed suppression over the late summer compared to the experimental control. Some crop species established poorly and are not recommended to follow wheat. Check out the website to see the full report and recommendations.
Dean Baas’ study on using cover crops with wheat to improve rotational profitability evaluated continuous corn, continuous soybeans, corn-soybean and corn-soybean-wheat rotations with and without cover crops at two locations.
Agronomic performance and soil health changes were measured over three years with the goal of evaluating the effects of rotational diversity, types of cover crops, and the combination of diversity and cover crops. View the final report online.
National president elected
Besides being busy in the state, there is a lot of involvement going on out of state. Michigan has its first national president.
Cass City wheat farmer Dave Milligan was elected president of the National Association of Wheat Growers.
Milligan is no stranger to leadership positions. He also has served as the first and only chair of the Michigan Wheat Program since its inception in 2011, and was Michigan’s first representative on the NAWG board.
Milligan previously has served as chairman of the National Dry Bean Board and has been involved in Farm Bureau’s commodity committees, both on the state and national levels.
At NAWG, Milligan has served on virtually all of its committees. He has brought back ideas to Michigan, and kept Michigan’s issues and challenges front and center on the national level.
With the new farm bill in place, Milligan says his focus will turn to global trade practices, new technology and disease control through cutting-edge research.
Newsom is the executive director of the Michigan Wheat Program.