Core Farm since

Fall of 2003


Mark and Jan Riechers, along with their son Joe Riechers.


West of Darlington, Lafayette County, WI


Finishing beef cattle from feeders to market weight.

Corn, Soybeans

Research Opportunities

This farm was chosen to represent medium-sized beef feedlot operations that have associated cropland devoted to row crops. Farm location is in a watershed at the southern end of Wisconsin's driftless region. The farm has a very productive soil type, and documented high yields of corn grain, corn silage, and soybeans. Continued good soil fertility is important to the Riechers operation. 

Gentle to moderate sloping landscape and field configurations result in 3 distinct 15-30 acre watersheds, all completely controlled and farmed by the participant. Ideal for studying this farming system: nutrient and soil sediment loss in a long-term direct plan (true no-till) system, with and without livestock manure.


Edge-of-field surface water monitoring stations were placed at the lower end of grassed waterways in 2004. Three of these were in place, each collected runoff water from a unique watershed that is 100 percent farmed and controlled by the participating farmer. Watershed sizes ranged between 15-30 acres. The participating farmer worked with the on-farm research team to intentionally spread livestock manure prior to two major winter snowmelt events to measure impact of applying manure at that time to find its effects on nonpoint source pollution.