A visit to Lancaster Agricultural Research Station

Arin Crooks, Superintendent
Lancaster Agricultural Research Station
UW-Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
(608) 723-2580

3:09 – Total Time

0:16 – Introduction to the station
0:41 – A picture of the station
1:04 – Newest research
1:51 – Major findings
2:20 – Driftless region adaptations
2:58 – Lead out


Sevie Kenyon: An overview of the Lancaster Agricultural Research Station, we’re visiting today with Arin Crooks superintendent of the station, University of Wisconsin-Madison in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and I’m Sevie Kenyon. Arin, introduce us to the Lancaster Agricultural Research Station.

Arin Crooks: Sure, we’re one of the 12 different research stations affiliated with the College of Ag and Life Sciences at UW-Madison and we’re located in the southwest corner of the state in Grant County about two hours from Madison and focus on crop production, beef production, and the interaction to the conservation and sustainability of the rolling hills of southwest Wisconsin.

Sevie Kenyon: Arin, we have a radio audience, can you draw us a little picture of the station?

Arin Crooks: Sure, we’re 530 acres with about 220 acres of crop ground and we raise corn, alfalfa, soybeans and small grains as well as some other experimental forages and we have about 200 acres of rotational graze pastures with 120 beef cows, an additional 50-60 replacement heifers and young stock.

Sevie Kenyon: Arin, what’s the latest, newest research taking place here?

Arin Crooks: We’ve got a couple of developing areas of research at the station in the last few years. One is there’s been an increased interest in cover crops, looking at how that fits in to rotations and benefits for the soil as well as producing forage. Also, we’re looking at some other alternative crops, one being kernza, which is an intermediate wheat grass, a perennial wheat. Looking at not only grain production but also grazing with that, to be kind of a dual-purpose crop. As well as a silvopasture project where we’re looking at grazing wooded areas with the beef cattle for not only the benefit of the cattle for shade and heat abatement but also for management of the wooded areas without hurting the trees.

Sevie Kenyon: And Arin, what’s one of the major findings to come off the station?

Arin Crooks: The crop rotation study is one of the historical projects that we’ve had that is turning 50 years old here in 2017. And some of the findings with that of the nitrogen credit after rotating out of alfalfa into corn and fertilization levels of corn for maximum production and optimum production I should say, is probably some of the most noteworthy research that has ever been held at the station.

Sevie Kenyon: Arin, can you tell us a little about how the research here is adapted to the driftless region?

Arin Crooks: The driftless region is located in around the Mississippi Valley and it’s an area where the glaciers in the last ice age split and did not pass over. So, we have rolling hills with very erodible soils, so it’s important for us to be very aware of how we farm the ground. Our whole station is laid out in 90-foot contour strips and alternated with forages and row crops as well as other pasture areas and the real steep areas of the farm. Everything that we do is in relation to conserving the soils that we have in this hilly terrain and being a productive operation.

Sevie Kenyon: We’ve been visiting with Arin Crooks, superintendent Lancaster Agricultural Research Station, University of Wisconsin-Madison in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and I’m Sevie Kenyon.

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