Monitoring timeline

Original sites: Fall 2004, 3 surface water and 1 tile site -- all discontinued in Fall 2007
Supplementary sites: Fall 2007, 2 surface water and 1 tile site; Fall 2008, 1 surface water site


Karl and Liz Klessig & Family
Robert and Kathleen Klessig & Family


West of Cleveland, Manitowoc County, WI


Corn, Forage, and other crops for on-farm feeding
Management-intensive rotational grazing (MIRG)
Specialty cheese from creamery

Research Opportunities

This farm was chosen to represent rotational grazing, medium-scale dairy operations that have associated cropland. Farm location is in the Great Lakes Basin, a region once glaciated.

Gentle to moderate sloping (2-6 percent slopes) landscape and field configurations led to a large (495 to 641 acre) watershed upstream/downstream design mainly controlled and farmed by Saxon Homestead to collect data on possible sources of nonpoint source pollution. Subsequent research was comprised of smaller (5 to 15 acre) watersheds completely controlled and farmed by participant, which was ideal for studying this farming system.

Nutrient and soil sediment runoff from the surface and tile-line discharge of fields with grazing manure deposition and liquid dairy manure applications were other research opportunities present.

Conservation Practices

Follows USDA-590 nutrient management standards-phosphorus based
Grassed waterways
Manure storage system

Monitoring in Place

Edge-of-field surface and tile drainage water monitoring stations were placed at the lower end of grazing paddock waterways. Three surface and one tile site are in place, each collecting water from a unique watershed that is 100 percent farmed and controlled by the participating farmer. Watershed sizes on Saxon Homestead range between 5 and 15 acres.

A paired surface water and tile-line site for overwintering cattle plus two other surface sites for monitoring runoff quality, as impacted by a 12+ year history of rotational grazing. Manure is applied to paddocks in summer after cutting. Manure is held in a pit when conditions warrant no spreading.