Mike Rankin served as the Fond du Lac County Crops and Soil Agent from 1988 to 2015 where his programming focused on forage and grain crop production, marketing and management. A combined 100,000 acres of alfalfa and corn silage are grown in Fond du Lac County to support the forage needs of the dairy industry there.
Mike initiated and coordinated the Wisconsin Alfalfa Yield and Persistence project to better document alfalfa crop yields in Wisconsin. This was the first whole-field, multi-farm research demonstration project exploring the relationship between alfalfa yield, quality, cutting schedule and stand persistence over the life of the stand.
Throughout his Extension career, Mike responded to weather relater crop challenges including presentations addressing feed shortages, pasture and forage management options. Mike also worked closely with Ag service providers to provide the latest research based information on seeding rates, seed treatments, pest management and more. He also worked closely with local corn growers and developed several decision aid tools, including spreadsheets to calculate crop residue value, nitrogen rate of return, flexible land rent and bio-solids nutrient value.
Mike was the lead educator in developing and maintaining the statewide Extension Team Forage website. His work on the webpage made forage educational publications widely accessible for farmers, Ag professionals, Extension colleagues in Wisconsin and nationwide. Moreover, he wrote or coordinated the writing of Wisconsin based publications, with nearly 100 exclusive “Focus on Forage” fact sheets. The website has also allowed other UW-Extension educators to be published nationwide.
To read more about the scholarly work Mike performed with the UW-Extension, please click here.