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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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IEIDM (Marshfield, WI)
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Developing the science to support economically and ecologically sound manure management decisions.

Marshfield—laboratory and office building.
Stratford—facility for calves, heifers, and first-lactation cows.


A partnership between . . .

  • USDA Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center
  • USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)
  • University of Wisconsin–Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (UW-CALS)
  • U.S. Geological Survey, Wisconsin Water Science Center 
Image of the USDFRC logo incorporating the ARS logo.
Image of the USDA National Resources Conservation Services logo.
Image of the crest of the University of Wisconsin–Madison.


Efficient collaboration between existing agencies . . .

The Institute capitalizes on the combined expertise of the established partners listed above. By working together, each partner gains enhanced research capacity through the sharing of cropland, cattle, facilities, and knowledge—both existing and new.

Image of two scientists measuring ammonia emissions during the winter.
Measuring ammonia emissions on three Wisconsin dairy farms using a dispersion analysis (laser) technique.

Comparing manure, crop, and soil management systems for control of nutrient runoff from corn silage production.

One of four paired-watershed 4-acre field sites with equipment for automated runoff sampling and data collection (sediment, nutrients, pathogens).


A brief timetable . . .

  • UW-CALS Agricultural Research Station has been at Marshfield (south site) since 1912; heifer facilities were built at a site north of Marshfield in 2003.
  • Because of the need to develop scientific research that can find environmentally sound answers to nutrient management questions on livestock operations, Congress appropriated funds in 2003 through 2006 for the USDA Agricultural Research Service to build research laboratories and offices at the south location (completed in 2008) and dairy and field research facilities at the north location (completed in 2011). The U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center operates the two facilities for the USDA Agricultural Research Service.


Phone: 715-387-4609

South Site (IEIDM mailing address):
2615 Yellowstone Dr.
Marshfield, WI 54449
North Site (farm buildings):
M605 Drake Avenue
Stratford, WI 54484


North Site:
622 acres (500 cropland) where UW-CALS has built new heifer facilities and USDA-Agricultural Research Service has built dairy facilities (milking, housing, manure storage).
South Site:
312 acres (272 cropland) where USDA has built a new laboratory and offices for scientists and NRCS technical specialists.


Objectives . . .

  • New methods/strategies for applying manure to minimize environmental risk (nutrients or pathogens in runoff, gaseous emissions) and improve the utilization of nutrients for crop growth.
  • Soil and crop management systems to maintain/improve soil quality for long-term productivity and environmental benefit.
  • Evaluation of the potential for pathogen movement from dairy production systems to the environment, and methods to mitigate this potential problem.
  • Alternative forage crops or cropping strategies that give farmers more options for applying manure, managing their operations during drought, and for meeting the specific nutrient requirements of dairy heifers or cows.
  • Improved preservation and utilization of nutrients from harvested or grazed forages.
  • Manipulation of cattle diets to reduce input costs and environmental burdens (especially phosphorus).
  • Improved management strategies for rearing replacement dairy heifers.
  • Assessing how bedding affects manure management and cow comfort. 


Mark Borchardt
Research Microbiologist
(715) 387-4943
Robin Brewster
(715) 387-4609
(715) 384-9157 (fax)
Wayne Coblentz (Research Leader)
Research Agronomist/Dairy Scientist
(715) 384-5784
Bill Jokela
Research Soil Scientist
(715) 384-5954
Robin Ogden
Biological Science Lab Technician
(715) 384-5968
Susan Spencer
(715) 387-4070
Peter Vadas (located in Madison) 
Research Soil Scientist 
(608) 890-0069 
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Last Modified: 12/31/2012
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