Organic corn field day – September 18th, East Troy

Breeding Corn for Organic Farmers with Organic Farmers.
Field day, Friday, September 18th, 10 AM to 3:30 PM, East Troy/Elkhorn, Wisconsin.

The Mandaamin Institute is breeding corn : 1) for high nutritional value (protein, methionine, lysine, and carotene) and taste; 2) that does not allow itself to be pollinated by GMO corn; 3) that is nitrogen efficient; 4) that combines these characteristics with good yields and dry-down. This research is funded by USDA-NRI-OREI, the Ceres Trust, and Organic Valley.

The field day will show how we are developing corn hybrids and varieties. And because this work can only succeed in conjunction with organic farmers and others, we will also highlight the work of our most local associates.

We will rendezvous at an organic café (2894 On Main) on the town square of East Troy, Wisconsin at 10 AM to see a unique partnership between market gardening and restaurant, run by the Rohrer family.

The first stop will be at the Rohrer farm. There we will view the Mandaamin Institute’s yield test plots and discuss how we are breeding for cross incompatibility with GMO corn. We will also view cover crop plantings in the corn and summer seeding berseem clover before heritage wheat. Organic farmer John Pounder will discuss his work growing and marketing open pollinated and hybrid corn varieties from our project and our cooperative work with heritage wheat varieties.

The second stop will be at the Goldstein’s organic farm (W2331 Kniep Road, Elkhorn, WI) to view the first yield trials of our N efficient hybrids. A lunch will be available there for $10 for those who register for the meal in advance. We will highlight corn bread made from our first released open pollinated variety, and eggs raised with our corn that have ultra-bright yellow-orange yolks. During lunch, cooperating corn breeder Kevin Montgomery (Montgomery Consulting, Maroa, Illinois) will speak about how to breed hardy, disease resistant corn for organic farmers.

Third stop will visit yield trials taking place on the historic Zinniker farm, which is a 75 year old biodynamic farm. There we will discuss relationships between farm management, yield trials, soil and grain quality, and weed control. John Bashaw of Pendragon specialties will show a hydraulic weeder suited for weed control in row crops, vegetables, and test plots.

Finally, those who wish to meet and talk further can meet back at the café for free tea or coffee.

Topics will include:
 Breeding corn for organic farming
 Grain quality, nutritional value, egg quality
 Breeding N efficient corn that works with N fixing bacteria
 Cross incompatible corn that avoids GMO contamination
 Cover crops, and organic and biodynamic soil management
 Weeds and weed control equipment
 Heritage wheats
 An organic café

The workshop is co-sponsored by the Biodynamic Association of North America, Pounder Bros Farm, Rohrer Enterprises, and Pendragon Specialties.

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