The mission of this program is to evaluate weed management practices to help Wisconsin growers sustainably control weeds and maximize the production of corn, soybean, small grains, and sweet corn crops. Through integration of applied field research and extension activities, we strive to deliver thorough, unbiased results to Wisconsin crop producers and improve upon the body of scientific weed science literature.

To read the complete blog, please visit the Out of Control page.

Hurry! Register for Pest Management Update Meetings

Hopefully, you will have finished or nearing the end of harvest by mid-November and will be ready to attend Extension’s Pest Management Update series. County Extension agents across Wisconsin will be hosting Pest Management Update Meetings during the second and third weeks in November. The purpose of each meeting is to review the past growing season and provide updates on research that can be applied to your farm. The speakers are Extension State Specialists including:

  • Bryan Jensen, Entomologist
  • Damon Smith, Field Crops Pathologist
  • Dan Heider, IPM Specialist
  • Mark Renz, Weed Scientist for Perennial Cropping Systems
  • Vince Davis, Weed Scientist for Annual Cropping Systems

Please register one week prior to the event. For a complete schedule of meetings including county agent contact information, please go here. Registration includes lunch, an information packet, and a copy of the 2015 Pest Management in Wisconsin Field Crops book. Four hours of CEU pest management credits will be available at each location. The registration fee is $40.

Learn How to Apply for Agricultural Grants


Farmers and value-added food entrepreneurs can get expert advice from USDA, USDA-SARE, and WI DATCP grant managers on how to apply for grants to improve their food production operations. For more information, see the University of Wisconsin Extension press release below.

Contact: Andrew Bernhardt, 608-890-0097, andrew.bernhardt@ces.uwex.edu

Workshops provide information about applying for agricultural grants
Madison, Wis. – Farmers and other value-added food entrepreneurs can learn strategies to access state and federal grants by attending workshops sponsored by University of Wisconsin-Extension in partnership with Michael Fields Agricultural Institute, DATCP, SARE, USDA Rural Development, FSA, NRCS and several farm credit agency banks.
The workshops, being held during October in Janesville and Montello and during November in Ashland and Shawano, will provide information about potential grants, the basics on putting together a strong grant proposal, cost share programs and other financing options.
Each workshop consists of five main components:

  1. An overview to agricultural grants, grant writing and what makes a strong grant proposal.
  2. A lunch-time presentation from a local grant awardee talking about his/her grant experience.
  3. Description and overview of Ag Grants from grant managers for USDA Value Added Producer Grant, USDA-SARE Farmer Rancher Grant, USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant, and WI-DATCP Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin Grant.
  4. A group exercise that allows participants to review actual proposals and gain hands-on experience at grant-writing.
  5. Specific info on other financial options (such as FSA loans, traditional bank loans and NRCS cost share programs) specific to Wisconsin.

Dates, locations and registration:
Oct. 28, 2014 – Janesville; contact: Kim Mork kim.mork@ces.uwex.edu or 608-757-5696
Nov. 4, 2014 – Montello; contact: Lyssa Seefeldt lyssa.seefeldt@ces.uwex.edu or 608-297-3136
Nov. 5, 2014 – Ashland; contact: Jason Fischbach jason.fischbach@ces.uwex.edu or 715-373-6104 ext. 5
Nov. 12, 2014 – Shawano; contact: Jamie Patton jamie.patton@ces.uwex.edu or 715-526-6136

A registration fee of $15 will cover the cost of lunch and materials. Please register at least one week in advance.
For more information about:
VAPG, please go to: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/rbs/coops/vapg.htm
ADD, please go to: http://www.datcp.state.wi.us/mktg/business/marketing/val-add/add/index.jsp
SARE, please go to: http://www.northcentralsare.org/
SCBG, please go to: http://datcp.wi.gov/Farms/Crops_and_Specialty_Crops/index.aspx
BLBW, please go to: http://datcp.wi.gov/Business/Buy_Local_Buy_Wisconsin/BLBW_Grants/index.aspx

On the Bookshelf: Desert Farming

The journal Science just reviewed a new book discussing farming methods used at the fringes of the Gobi desert. The book, “Growing Food in a Hotter, Drier Land: Lessons from Desert Farmers on Adapting to Climate Uncertainty” by Gary Paul Nabhan details growing practices for those farmers that produce crops with less than 20 inches of rainfall per year. For reference, the average yearly rainfall in Madison, Wisconsin is 32 inches. In the drought years of 1988, 1989, and 2012, the precipitation totals were 25, 23, and 27 inches per year.

Winners Announced from the Biggest Weed Contest


The Department of Agronomy’s Mark Renz announces this year’s winners of the Biggest Weed Contest at the Farm Technology Days, August 12-14, 2014.

2014 Contest Winner

This giant ragweed, submitted by Ken McGwin of Montello, was the Day 1 winner of the Biggest Weed contest at Wisconsin Farm Technology Days. Measuring 12’6” x 4’, its overall size wasn’t big enough though to beat the grand champion – another giant ragweed measuring over 10 feet tall and seven feet wide.

Here is Mark’s press release:

Contact: Mark Renz, UW-Extension weed specialist, 608-263-7437, mrenz@wisc.edu

Biggest Weed contest winners announced

Madison, Wis. – Despite the cool summer, plenty of weeds were entered in the ‘Biggest Weed’ contest sponsored by University of Wisconsin-Extension/Madison Weed Experts at the recent Wisconsin Farm Technology Days. Of the many samples brought in for identification, eight participants submitted nine weeds they felt deserved the title of Biggest Weed.

“While none of the samples topped the 13 foot mark like last year, several were quite wide, making up for the lack of height,” said Mark Renz, University of Wisconsin-Extension/Madison weed specialist. “Of the nine samples submitted, four were annuals, four biennials, and only one perennial plant – common milkweed.”

Typically the biennial and perennial plants take the prize, but this year a giant ragweed was the grand champion. Wayne Greeler from Neillsville, Wisconsin brought in this specimen that was over 10 feet tall and seven feet wide. The overall size of the plant is determined by multiplying the weed’s height by the maximum width when held in its normal growth form.

Renz said, “It is uncommon for a giant ragweed to get this wide but the extra girth allowed it to take the grand prize.”

Tuesday’s winner was another giant ragweed submitted by Ken McGwin from Montello. It was much taller than the grand champion, more than 12 feet, but only four feet wide. Wednesday’s winner Mary Jane Fry from Pittsville did bring in a massive bull thistle, but its dimensions couldn’t match the winners from Tuesday or Thursday.

“All submissions were found next to a barn, shed, fence, or tree,” Renz noted, “So apparently having a structure nearby helps. Remember this tip when we hold the event next year at Wisconsin Farm Technology Days in Dane County.”

All daily winners will receive a weed identification book, as thanks for hauling these winning specimens to Wisconsin Farm Technology Days. Anyone who has tried to bring in one of these plants can attest that it is no easy task.

For more information about identifying and controlling weeds in your field or yard, contact your local county Extension agent or visit the University of Wisconsin Weed Science website at http://fyi.uwex.edu/weedsci


Funding available from Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection manages the Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin grant program for farmers and other members of the food industry who want to develop local markets for their products.

For more information, please visit the Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin website

Next Week: Agronomy and Soils Field Day

Don’t miss the 2014 Agronomy and Soils Field Day next week!

On Wednesday, August 27th, the Arlington Agricultural Research Station will host the Agronomy/Soils Field Day from 8:00am-3:00pm. Join us on four separate tours throughout the day as UW-Extension and Agronomists share current research developments in grains, soils, forages, and greenhouse gases. Presenters include: Vince Davis, Bryan Jensen, Joe Lauer, Matt Ruark, Randy Jackson, Francisco Arriaga, Erin Silva, Gregg Sanford, Dan Undersander, Mark Renz, and Damon Smith. During lunch, enjoy exhibits such as: UAV aerial photography, Apps for Ag, Nutrient and Pest Management Programs, Integrated Pest Management Program, SnapPlus, and more. Agronomy/Soils Field Day is open to the public, does not require registration, and will be held rain or shine.

Click here for the official event flyer.

Author: Steven Gruber

Steven Gruber will be a junior in the fall at the University of Wisconsin-Madison pursuing his undergraduate degree in Microbiology through the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. This summer, he is currently an undergraduate research assistant for the Agronomy-Weed Science department and hopes to further his research experience in plant-microbe interactions.