UW Discovery Farms publishes practical on-farm conservation tool

Release date: 3/1/2016

The new Field Walkover Guide is designed as a straight forward, practical document that will help farmers identify and prioritize their conservation needs and complement current conservation plans.

UW Discovery Farms publishes practical on-farm conservation tool
Pigeon Falls, WI: March 1st, 2016 -- The new Field Walkover Guide is designed as a straight forward, practical document that will help farmers identify and prioritize their conservation needs and complement current conservation plans. It highlights simple ways to visually identify erosion risks and offers potential solutions and considerations for each farm’s unique situation.
 
The walkover guide is a culmination of 60 farm walkovers on 15,000 acres in Wisconsin conducted by the program. Information gathered during the walkovers was used to identify field-specific areas of concern. During a follow-up farm visit, areas in need of improvement were identified and prioritized, and farmers were offered simple solutions for improving problem areas. The guide is based on common themes and feedback from these on-farm walkovers, as well as the 200 site years of data collected from Discovery Farms water quality monitoring.
 
“It’s about layering information,” explained Amber Radatz, co-director of the UW Discovery Farms program. “Our research on private Wisconsin farms has shown us that the months with the most runoff and soil loss are April through June. Combine that with the walkover information and you’ve got both the critical times for loss and the conditions that increase erosion risk during those times.” 
 
“We hope this is a simple tool farmers can use when they’re out doing field work. We know that time and money are limiting factors and with that in mind we made sure our guide focused on solutions and assessments that wouldn’t take too much of either,” Radatz commented.
The document includes:

  • Two decision trees to guide assessments of concentrated flow areas and in-field erosion
  • Lessons learned from walkovers and 15 years of water quality monitoring
  • What to consider when conducting your own field walkover
  • Practical strategies for minimizing erosion risk
Find the Field Walkover Guide as an insert in upcoming issues of Agri-View, Wisconsin State Farmer, and The Country Today. It is also available online at www.uwdiscoveryfarms.org. If you would like a copy mailed to you contact Discovery Farms at 715.983.5668.