Albert Lea Seed House Spring 2018 Organic Newsletter

ORGANIC Cultivator Spring 2018 Cultivating soil, knowledge, relationships Why We Invest In Research With more than $60,000 pledged to university research, $200,000 in our own research equipment, and ongoing support to research organizations such as the Practical Farmers of Iowa, we’re committed to research. Let’s face it, conventional farming research has been very well-funded by commercial ag enterprises, land-grant Universities, and commodity groups. By comparison, organic cropping research has been underfunded. This is starting to change, and we want to do our part to develop new varieties, tools, and cropping systems to help organic farmers increase yields, reduce weed and insect losses, and improve soil health. We purchased a plot planter, plot combine, tractor with RTK, and a drone in order to start doing small- plot research on organic farms. In 2018 we will have 4 replicated organic soybean plots, 2 replicated organic corn plots, and an extensive evaluation of organic seed coatings. By Mac Ehrhardt, Co-owner cereal rye varieties in field testing so that farmers will know which varieties and planting strategies work for best for their on-farm applications. For example, for no-till roller-crimper systems farmers need early- heading high-biomass varieties. Our good friend and Iowa organic farmer, Tom Frantzen, is working cooperatively with KWS, us, and six other farmers to find out if pork production benefits from incorporating hybrid cereal rye into hog rations. We’ll continue to back research at all levels to help farmers find the seed, tools, and information they need to farm profitably and sustainably. We’re supporting the University of Wisconsin for a project called Innovations in Cover Crop-Based Organic No-Till Systems to Improve Soil Health and Nutrient Management. As its name implies, it will track the practices and rotation selections that work best for improving soil health and nutrient uptake on organic corn and soybean farms. All farmers—organic and conventional alike—can benefit from integrating small grains into the rotation. Our $50,000 pledge to the University of Minnesota’s cereal rye project will help characterize specific Here’s a shot of our new plot combine in action! MAC EHRHARDT ELIA ROMANO CARL GAUDIAN Co-owner Organic Sales Organic Accounts