TLC went on the road earlier this month to co-host the Midwest Mechanical Weed Control Field Day in Waukesha, Wisconsin at Gwenyn Hill Farm. This event is the Midwest’s largest field day devoted entirely to mechanical weed control. Created by Sam Hitchcock Tilton in 2017, The Land Connection was invited to provide event assistance last year in central Illinois and, after a very successful day, brought back to continue co-hosting the field day. I think it is safe to say that this has quickly become one of our favorite events of the year.
Having not run an event of this caliber outside of central Illinois in a very long time, we were excited to be somewhere new and work with many farmers that had not previously connected with The Land Connection. This year’s event was also quite a bit bigger than last year. Though the strong focus on weeding tools, equipment, techniques, and precision guidance was still apparent, we expanded the event to include information specific to row-crop farmers. We also added roundtable discussions featuring topics like hemp, planting vegetables in wet weather, building a resilient farm operation, and controlling weeds by balancing soil calcium.
The day started with a delicious breakfast of bagels and pumpkin muffins sourced with local ingredients and provided to attendees by a Milwaukee-based caterer, MKE Kitchen. Attendees were able to network with exhibitors and demonstrators in the morning, as well as participate in the roundtable discussions. We also had opportunities for guests to watch walk-behind equipment demonstrations and see a rotovator in action. After lunch, which featured sandwiches and a hearty chili using locally grown and produced ingredients, attendees divided into groups to watch equipment demonstrations of mechanical weed control implements for vegetable or row-crop operations. The cultivators on display were by Hatzenbichler, Einbock, KULT-Kress, Lilliston, Treffler, and Tilmor, with an additional demonstration of a Japanese torsion weeder. The exhibitors that demonstrated and discussed the equipment were:
- Bay Shore Sales
- Dean’s Ag – Lilliston Cultivators
- Farm Power Implements
- KULT-Kress LLC
- Small Farm Works
- Sutton Ag
Attendees were also able to interact with a variety of exhibitors offering planting equipment, organic applications, farmer education information, and more. Those exhibitors included:
- Ag Resource, Inc
- BCS Two-Wheel Tractors / BCS America
- Growing for Market
- HSU Growing Supply
- Mechanical Transplanter Company
- Mid-state Tractor and Equipment
- Midwestern BioAg
- Osborne Seeds
- Purple Cow Organics
- Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers, Assn
Before closing, I’d be remiss not to mention Gwenyn Hill Farm. This was the idyllic location for our field day. Farm Manager, Linda Halley, and her team really worked hard to showcase their organic vegetable and grain operation. From TLC’s arrival on Tuesday to set up for the field day, through the end of the field day and even clean-up on Wednesday, it was ever apparent that their entire operation cares deeply about protecting our land for generations to come. We were grateful for their hospitality and hope the attendees were able to connect with their farm to truly appreciate the great work they are contributing to sustainable, integrated, organic farm operations.
To all individuals and businesses able to attend this year’s Midwest Mechanical Weed Control Field Day, thank you for supporting this training and networking opportunity. To those looking for more information on next year’s event, we are excited to announce that the location will be in Iowa. Stay tuned for more details on the farm and date!
Photos courtesy of Liz Kolbe, Practical Farmers of Iowa.