A Beer Can Height: A Closer Look at Australian Harvest Weed Seed Control

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What is a podcast?

For those of you who are newer to the medium, a podcast is like a pre-recorded radio show. In the same way that you turn on a talk radio show, you have to turn on a podcast. The major difference is that while our cars are equipped to find radio frequencies, they are not built to accommodate direct access to podcasts. On your smartphone or computer with internet access (since the files tend to be on the larger side), you can discover podcast shows of any kind, in any field, on any topic.

Listed above are some of the most used podcast hosts. iTunes and the iTunes Podcast app are preinstalled on your iPhone and are the simplest tools to use. You simply search for “WSU Wheat Beat Podcast” in the search bar, hit “subscribe” and the download arrow, and listen whenever it’s convenient for you.

If you use an Android or use another type of smartphone, you will need to find a different podcasting app because those devices don’t come with a preinstalled app like Apple. If you don’t know which podcast app you’d like, simply hit the “Android” link above and it will show you to several Android podcast apps for you to choose from.

After you download an episode, you can listen without using data any time of day. Our goal is to post a new podcast every other Monday. Your podcast app should automatically load our new episodes and download them for you (on WiFi), hands-free if you choose that in the app settings.

If you have further questions about what a podcast is, which app is best for you or need more assistance with getting started with podcasts, don’t hesitate to contact us.


Episode Transcription:

[ Music ]

Drew Lyon: Hello, and welcome to the WSU Wheat Beat Podcast. I’m your host, Drew Lyon, and I want to thank you for joining me as we explore the world of small grains production and research at Washington State University. We have weekly discussions with researchers from WSU and the USDA-ARS to provide you with insights into the latest research on wheat and barley production. If you enjoy the WSU Wheat Beat Podcast, do us a favor and subscribe on iTunes or your favorite podcasting app, and leave us a review while you’re there so others can find the show too.

[ Music ]

Drew Lyon: My guest today is Daniel Fox, Daniel is a fifth generation farmer and the third generation currently farming their 2100 hectare, or about 5200-acre, farm near Mara, New South Wales in Australia. He farms with his granddad and grandma, Bun and Lois, his dad and mom, David and Kathy, and his wife Rach. They grow wheat, barley, chickpea, lentil, faba bean, and canola. They recently changed to a disc-seeding stripper front continuous cropping system. They started their harvest weed seed control efforts with narrow windrow burning before converting to chaff lining in 2016. Daniel recently received the Excellence in Innovation Award at the National Farmer of the Year Awards, held in Canberra in October. Hello Daniel.

Daniel Fox: G’day Drew, how you going?

Drew Lyon: I’m doing well. So for my listeners back home in the U.S., can you give us a little more background on your farming operation?

Daniel Fox: Yep, well our farming operation is most around windrow cropping summer fallow, which is traditionally the way it has been for a lot of years. As you’ve said we’re transitioning — I’m  transitioning to a disc-seeding stripper front system and incorporating a few different break crops to what we’ve traditionally done so with the, with faba beans, and lentils, chickpeas, so you know, we’re really in a transition phase at the moment that’s really based around the winter cropping summer fallow but we are trying to introduce a few summer species as well.

Drew Lyon: And so, when I was in Nebraska I did a lot of work bringing in different cropping systems from the traditional winter wheat-fallow. When they switched from conventional tillage to no-till and obviously that’s something you’ve seen too that as you cut back on the tillage, the need for crop rotation and crop diversity really increases.

Daniel Fox: Oh absolutely, when the first break crops come into an area, which was canola back in dad’s era, there’s still a lot of big productivity gains once that crop was introduced in the whole rotation so, what we’re finding now is the different cropping species like lentils, and faba beans, and chickpeas, that are coming into our system and now we’re seeing a lot of big benefits to the rotation as a whole with their introduction.

Drew Lyon: Okay, why don’t you tell us a little bit about your main weed issues and what you’re doing to address them? I think you have some of the similar issues to us, Italian ryegrass is one that’s quite problematic and I think you have something rather similar here that you’ve been dealing with or are trying to deal with.

Daniel Fox: Yep. Well our major weeds and our winter program, yeah ryegrass, bromegrass, and what we call black oats but you probably know them as wild oats. We’re finding that there’s a lot of resistance just starting to creep into our system. And what we’ve also been saying is through continual use of herbicides in the same manner of what we have in the last 30 odd years, we’re starting to see seed dormancy come into the equation now as well where they’re escaping the herbicide application and actually germinating later once, especially in canola once we can’t actually apply the herbicide in crop anymore so, yeah we’re really seeing a lot of challenges come up with in regards to weeds probably, and I’ve really our main challenge is probably in the last five or six years I suppose, have really started to rear their ugly head. Yeah, we really have to decide pretty swiftly on some different management tactics that we could use to control them.

Drew Lyon: And one reason we came, or I came to Australia, one reason we came to your farm is because you’re doing, you’re active in harvest, what we call harvest weed seed control. I wonder if you can tell us a little bit about your, what you’ve been trying and what changes you’ve made to it over the years.

Daniel Fox: Yep, well we first started with a technique that was called narrow windrow burning which we collect all the residue and put it in a narrow row, no wider than sort of 50 or 60 centimeters, or less than two feet, and then we want to concentrate everything there and then burn it so that we’re actually getting a good hot burn and burning all the weed seeds and sterilizing them that way. What we learnt through the 2000’s, we had a really bad drought and we learned, really learned the value of keeping our residue and that’s partly the reason why we’ve gone to this stripper front disc-seeding system is the conservation of moisture and keeping the soils cool through our residue and we found a couple years ago the actual cost for us to do narrow windrow burning although there was no, not a lot of upfront cost, the cost that it made for the next crop through the removal of residue was quite large so we realized that we had to do something different to still do harvest weed seed control but try and maintain our residue and keep our soils covered at the same time and we stumbled across a technique called chaff lining which we just take the chaff off the back of the sieves which should contain all your weed seeds if they haven’t ended up into the box and delivered, and then concentrated them in an ultra-tight row so they’re no wider than 20 centimeters, or 20-25 centimeters, so much, and then much tighter than your narrow windrow burning but instead of burning it we just leave it there to rot so the, by composting them that way, they actually they don’t germinate and the ones that do we actually know where they are so we can actually go in with a targeted approach on a high rate of herbicide or we’re hoping in the future there might be some different technologies like micro-technology that can come along and actually you know, terminate those survivors that have germinated so.

Drew Lyon: So for those listeners in the U.S., where we haven’t converted to the metric system, 20 to 25 centimeters is going to be 9 to 12 inches — something like that.

Daniel Fox: Yeah, around there, less than a foot nearly what you want you know, there’s been some good blokes here doing some research on the density of chaff that you need in there as well to you know, to really stop any germination at all and anecdotally we’re saying that there is good rotting on the bottom side of the chaff line but you know, on the top you do certainly get a little bit of germination of those weed seed that happen but really for us, we’re concentrating I mean on a narrow row where instead of competing with your crop on the rest of the 12 meter run, they’re actually competing against themselves and become highly competitive against themselves so they’re actually forming less seeds per plant and not competing against your crop that way.

Drew Lyon: Okay, I’ve noticed one thing that seems to be fairly common here that’s not so common in Eastern Washington is tramline farming, so having all of your equipment set up on the same widths and drive on the same rows over, and over again, is that critical to this chaff lining operation?

Daniel Fox: It’s not critical but it does help. A bit of background is that we’ve got in our operation runs on a 12-meter controlled traffic system. All the implements that are going into the field are on 3 meter wheel centers or 120 inches, and then every pass of every machine is done on multiples of 12 meters so, say you’ve got a combine around 12 meters, boom sprayers on 36, but all got that common path that they travel in. In terms of harvest weed seed control for us that makes it really easy when we’re putting our chaff line back in the same position every year, as you said before, getting that multiple passes, so multiple chaff, put on the same spot and building residue in that area, building chaff residue in that area, so we’re actually making a very hostile environment for weeds to grow and propagate so it’s a bit — weeds and a crop as well don’t like growing in chaff, they want to be growing in soil so if we can get them growing in chaff, they’re very, they become very weak and then they are competing with each other as well, which takes a lot of the competition against the crop out, so.

Drew Lyon: I was there for watching some harvest a couple days ago and I was really impressed how you lay that chaff line right on top of the previous year’s chaff line, it was quite accurately done so pretty impressive. What are some of the costs associated with chaff lining? You mentioned it was a fairly cheap approach to harvest weed seed control, can you talk a little bit about what it takes to get yourself set up for chaff lining?

Daniel Fox: Yeah, well you know, chaff lining is the cheapest form of harvest weed seed control. You’ve got multiple different options, you’ve got the Rolls Royce, which is the integrated seed destructor, which is a set of mills fitted into the back of the combine, you’ve got your tramlining kit which you put your weed seeds on your actual tramlines themselves at a bit less cost than what your terminators are and then, and then yeah for us we’re chaff lining for, all it took was a bit of scrap steel and a bit of time to weld a chute up that will collect the weed seeds and the chaff off the back of the sieves in the combine and then build a vessel so that you can actually prevent those weeds from getting sucked into the chopper and spread, so we want to direct everything that’s on the chaff, on the sieves into the chute that’s actually made out of scrap steel and a bit of time and yeah, it’s very, very light cost so.

Drew Lyon: Okay, so if somebody back in Washington or the Western US wanted to get involved in harvest weed seed control, what kind of advice would you give them?

Daniel Fox: Well I think you know, the first thing is identifying that you could have issues in the future with herbicide resistance, from there, my opinion is that we need to throw the whole toolbox at our weeds and that includes non-chemical modes of action and a really critical one to maintain our herbicides into the future is to collect the weeds that get through them at harvest time. So I think first of all, deciding that you do need to make some action and the sooner the better, on harvest weed seed control but the number one thing with harvest weed seed control is you need to get them into the harvester. And that’s all to do with your harvest height so we’ve got a rule of thumb here, standard measure in Australia is a beer can height which is 15 centimeters high which is 6 inches so, we want to be harvesting our crop as low as we can to get all of the residue — all the weed seeds into the harvester so that we can deal with them. Next step is that we need to be able to get them out of the roller and onto the sieve so that we can actually deal with them. So once they’re on the sieve they’re very easy to catch with whichever form of harvest weed seed control you’ve chosen. But for us once they’re on the sieves then into the chaff line, so.

Drew Lyon: Okay, so we do have issues with the herbicide resistance, we don’t have to wait around for them, so that’s one reason I came here was to see that and I think you’ve mentioned a couple times to me, this double knock system which is rather common in Australia. I think it originally related to herbicides but you’re actually kind of giving a double knock when you give herbicides and crop and then come and kind of double knock it as, deal with it a second time at harvest time which is a period of time we’ve kind of missed historically. We’ve just, whatever was there was there and we were just going to have to spread it around but now–

Daniel Fox:  Yeah, absolutely and that’s something to say with our production system is put in place with — yeah, for as long as we’ve been harvesting crop, we’ve been harvesting weeds and we’ve been spreading them out and dealing with them the following year so, yeah it’s quite an important thing that this double knock mentality that we’re always that backing up what we’re doing with something else that’s going to help if that fails, and one thing that we know about the mother nature is that she’s always going to be one step ahead of us and things that get, plants are going to evolve and try and beat or get around anything that we do so if we apply a herbicide, there’s going to be a percentage of the population that’s going to get around that, so if we can throw as many tools in the toolbox at them and keep using the double knock principle I suppose you’d call it to keep backing up what we’re doing with every other thing that we’re doing, be that row spacing, harvest weed seed control, double herbicide knocks, rotation is an important one as well, yeah crop rotation, competitive crops, all those different tools that we’ve got, if we’re stacking them and using each one to back every other thing we’ve got, we should hopefully succeed and really drive our weed seed back down so.

Drew Lyon: Alright, well thank you very much, Daniel, I appreciate the time you’ve taken to visit with me today and to show me around and let me watch you harvest the other day, I really appreciate it.

Daniel Fox: Yeah, that’s all right, Drew.

[ Music ]

Drew Lyon: Thanks for joining us and listening to the WSU Wheat Beat Podcast. If you like what you hear, you can subscribe on iTunes or your favorite podcasting app so you never miss an episode. And leave us a review while you’re there. If you have questions for us that you’d like to hear addressed on future episodes, please email me at drew.lyon@wsu.edu. You can find us online at smallgrains.wsu.edu. You can also reach out on Facebook and Twitter @WSUSmallGrains. The WSU Wheat Beat Podcast is a production of CAHNRS communications in the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences at Washington State University. I’m Drew Lyon. We’ll see you next week.

2017 PLC and ARC Payments, and 2018 Forecast

Total payments to Washington producers under the Price Loss Coverage (PLC) and Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) government programs for 2017 crops (paid Fall 2018) were $35,317,646. PLC payments totaled $10,898,805, and ARC payments for Washington farmers came to $24,418,841.

PLC payments result when the national average marketing year price is below the PLC national reference price. For wheat, the reference price is $5.50 per bushel.

The last USDA estimate for 2018 PLC wheat payments was based on the December 11, 2018 projected marketing year price of $5.15 per bushel (the marketing year runs from June 1, 2018 through May 31, 2019 – thus we are almost 3/4 of the way through the year). If realized, this price would result in a PLC payment of $0.35 per bushel. Due to the government shutdown, the average annual price projection has not been updated since December, but USDA will release a new price projection on Friday, February 8.

Current wheat futures prices coupled with cash prices received through January 2019 suggest the actual market year average price for wheat will be closer to $5.19 per bushel, slightly higher than USDA’s December estimate. If this proves out, the actual PLC payment for 2018 will be $0.31 per bushel, or $0.04 per bushel less than forecast by USDA back in December.

ARC county payments are based on crop revenue being less than the reference revenue calculated as the combination of the Olympic average price and Olympic average yield over the last 5 years. The Olympic average price is calculated using the higher of the market average price or benchmark price ($5.50) each of the last 5-years. The calculation throws out both the high and low price and then averages the remaining three.

The Olympic average yield is calculated from actual county average yields the last 5-years, again throwing out the high and low before calculating the average. The 5-year Olympic yield for 2018 payments is already known based on the yields experienced from 2014 through 2018. These are presented in the table below for Washington counties.

Only 2 of the last 5 years had a marketing year average price above the benchmark price, and the highest of those is thrown out to compute the Olympic average. Thus, the projected price for 2018 ARC payments is $5.66 per bushel (based on the average benchmark $5.50 price for 2016 and 2017 when actual prices were below the benchmark and the actual market price of $5.99 in 2015). The low price this year is thrown out, and the $6.87 average market price for wheat in 2014 is thrown out.

Using $5.66 per bushel and the yields in the table below will allow producers to calculate the reference revenue against which ARC payments will be made. If the actual market price at the

end of the marketing year ends up being $5.19 per bushel as forecast above, this will be multiplied by the 2018 realized yields to determine the actual ARC payment for 2018.

County

Crop

Yield

Adams Wheat 51
Asotin Wheat 54
Benton Wheat 51
Chelan Wheat 53
Columbia Wheat 72
Douglas Wheat 44
Ferry Wheat 61
Franklin Wheat 121
Franklin Wheat 35
Garfield Wheat 64
Grant Wheat 115
Grant Wheat 47
Island Wheat 75
Kittitas Wheat 85
Klickitat Wheat 35
Lincoln Wheat 58
Okanogan Wheat 36
Skagit Wheat 76
Snohomish, North King Wheat 78
Spokane Wheat 59
Stevens Wheat 53
Walla Walla Wheat 75
Whatcom Wheat 75
Whitman Wheat 70
Yakima Wheat 113
Yakima Wheat 16

For questions or comments, contact Randy Fortenbery via email at r.fortenbery@wsu.edu or by phone 509-335-7637.

Weeds Are Coming: Do You Know What Invades Your Field?

Weeds, not just a five-letter word!

Weeds continue to be one of the top limiting factors in annual crop production worldwide. On WSU’s small grains website, we try to give you the latest information for weed management. The most common weeds and supporting pdf’s with information about that weed can be found under the weed resources tab. Information on weeds such as Italian ryegrass (the bane of PNW growers, especially Palouse producers, existence), Horsetail New, prickly lettuce, jointed goatgrass, and much more are available.

Did you know we have glyphosate-resistant Russian thistle and 2,4-D resistant prickly lettuce in Washington State? What remains the most effective herbicide for field bindweed? What crop plant is a direct relative to Jointed Goatgrass? Visit the Small Grains Common Weeds List to find out.

Prickly lettuce.
Italian Ryegrass.
Photos courtesy of Joseph M. DiTomaso, University of California – Davis.


A Mixed Bag for Stripe Rust & Eyespot with Tim Murray

Contact Information:

For questions or comments contact Tim Murray by email at tim.murray@wsu.edu, by phone (509) 335-7515, or Twitter @WSUWheatDoc.


What is a podcast?

For those of you who are newer to the medium, a podcast is like a pre-recorded radio show. In the same way that you turn on a talk radio show, you have to turn on a podcast. The major difference is that while our cars are equipped to find radio frequencies, they are not built to accommodate direct access to podcasts. On your smartphone or computer with internet access (since the files tend to be on the larger side), you can discover podcast shows of any kind, in any field, on any topic.

Listed above are some of the most used podcast hosts. iTunes and the iTunes Podcast app are preinstalled on your iPhone and are the simplest tools to use. You simply search for “WSU Wheat Beat Podcast” in the search bar, hit “subscribe” and the download arrow, and listen whenever it’s convenient for you.

If you use an Android or use another type of smartphone, you will need to find a different podcasting app because those devices don’t come with a preinstalled app like Apple. If you don’t know which podcast app you’d like, simply hit the “Android” link above and it will show you to several Android podcast apps for you to choose from.

After you download an episode, you can listen without using data any time of day. Our goal is to post a new podcast every other Monday. Your podcast app should automatically load our new episodes and download them for you (on WiFi), hands-free if you choose that in the app settings.

If you have further questions about what a podcast is, which app is best for you or need more assistance with getting started with podcasts, don’t hesitate to contact us.


Episode Transcription:

[ Music ]

Drew Lyon: Hello. Welcome to the WSU Wheat Beat podcast. I’m your host, Drew Lyon, and I want to thank you for joining me as we explore the world of small grains production and research at Washington State University. In each episode, I speak with researchers WSU and the USDA-ARS to provide you with insights into the latest research on wheat and barley production. If you enjoy the WSU Wheat Beat podcast do us a favor and subscribe on iTunes or your favorite podcasting app and leave us a review while you’re there so others can find the show too.

[ Music ]

Drew Lyon: My guest today is Tim Murray. Tim is a professor, an extension plant pathologist who has been on the WSU faculty since 1983. Prior to joining the extension Small Grains team in 2013, he taught introductory plant pathology. His research program focuses on integrated control of wheat diseases. Especially eyespot, Cephalosporium stripe, speckled snow mold, soilborne wheat mosaic, wheat streak mosaic and others. Hello Tim.

Tim Murray: Hi Drew.

Drew Lyon: So, Tim all though we’re still in the midst of winter as we’re recording this, a lot of growers are beginning to think about spring fieldwork. Especially down in the lower rain fall parts of the state. Disease is one of those considerations. What do you think growers should be thinking about now relative to spring field work for wheat disease?

Tim Murray: Well one of the things they’re probably thinking about most relative to disease is the stripe rust. And we’ve had several years in a row where stripe rust has been our major disease concern in the spring. We always think about stripe rust because fall infection and winter survival are important for determining how much disease is likely to occur this spring. The other disease that I start thinking about is eyespot. It’s another foliar disease. Also dependent on fall and winter conditions to determine how severe it’s going to be and the other disease for which we spray a fungicide as one of our control measures. So, stripe rust and eyespot are I think what are on most people’s minds or should be.

Drew Lyon: As we move into the spring. So, as you said every year’s a little bit different because every winter and fall is different. So, what do we know about stripe rust at this stage of the game?

Tim Murray: Well, it’s been kind of a mixed bag for stripe rust this year. 2018 fall conditions were very dry. You’ll recall we had very little rain during the summer. In general, seeding was late or if seeding was early there wasn’t enough moisture to get the crop up. So, emergence was late. And neither of which of those is favorable for stripe rust infection. Stripe rust depends on infecting that winter crop in the fall so that it can survive through the winter. Nevertheless, Dr. Chen’s group out surveying last fall did find some fields in Grant County that had very low amounts of stripe rust. A few pustules in a field he told me. So that seems to be at the low end of the spectrum. But not unusual for this time of the year. What we know about the stripe rust fungus is that survival depends on winter conditions and especially winter temperatures during December, January, and February. So, if temperatures are really cold, 5-degrees Fahrenheit, or less that’s going to reduce survival of the rust but still allow survival of the crop. So far, I think most people realize that our temperatures in December and up until now in January have been probably average or above average and not, certainly not cold enough to affect the survival of the rust. Dr. Chen, as we’re recording this, just released his first stripe rust update of the season this past week. And he is calling for about normal range of stripe rust this year. Now that’s dependent mainly on his models looking at temperature. I think because of the dry fall conditions we’re probably looking at something less than what would be normal for his predictions. But that said you know we’re going to have to monitor temperatures and the crop going forward to see where the stripe rust ends up because we’re still as we speak very early into the season. Things could turn around and become very favorable for the rust or conversely, they could remain cool and dry and not favorable for the rust.

Drew Lyon: So, given that statement what kind of recommendations can you make to growers at this time about stripe rust and what they should be doing. Anything out of the normal or just the things you would normally suggest growers do?

Tim Murray: Well I think our recommendations are really the same as they have been and growers who’ve listened to us know that we always recommend as the first line of defense planting a disease resistant variety. If you look at the Washington State Crop Improvement Association Seed Buyers Guide for winter or spring crops, try to pick a variety that is rated four or less. That means it’s either resistant or moderately resistant and varieties that have that rating should not need fungicide application during the year. Now it’s still early enough with us with spring seeding not having taken place yet for growers to think about variety selection for a spring crop. So, think first and foremost about that resistant variety. For winter crop it’s obviously too late. Crop is already in the ground. If you’ve got a variety that is resistant or moderately resistant, good job. You probably are not going to have to worry about saying fungicide for rust. If you have one that’s rated more susceptible than a four, then our recommendation is always to get out and monitor the crop. Get out and look to see if you can find those stripe rust pustules in the crop. And the recommendation is that if you have about three to five percent of the plants with actively sporulating pustules that’s the threshold for thinking about fungicide application. And if you reach that threshold you need to act quickly because the rust can develop very quickly. So, it’s not if you see that threshold, don’t wait around to make a decision whether you’re going to spray fungicide or not.

Drew Lyon: So, some of these recommendations can growers find that information on this Wheat and Small Grains website? Do you have that on some of your?

Tim Murray: Yeah. It’s there. We have, in fact we have a table that has a list of fungicides that are used for, especially for foliar diseases, the rusts. There are several different fungicides that are registered for stripe rust control. I guess the one thing to remember with these fungicides is that most of them have a growth stage restriction. So most of them are going to cut off at anthesis growth stage 10.5.4 on the feekes scale. But you need to double check the label before you make that application. There are a couple of materials that actually have a pre-harvest interval of 30 days pre-application or application 30 days before your harvest. And so, depending on where you’re at in the season, make sure you know if there is that restriction. Dr. Chen will tell you that he doesn’t recommend fungicide applications after anthesis because he just doesn’t think there’s a return on the investment.

Drew Lyon: Okay enough damage has been done.

Tim Murray: That’s right. You’re not going to recover from damage that’s done at that point.

Drew Lyon: Okay. So, the other disease you mentioned was eyespot. What do we know about eyespot so far this year?

Tim Murray: Well, a lot of the conditions that favor stripe rust also favor eyespot. And the fall weather and so forth winter temperatures are going to also influence eyespot. Again, the dry fall conditions, the late seeding or late emergence in general will have reduced the potential for eyespot this year. That said, again, the mild temperatures that we’ve had in December and January have allowed the wheat to probably start growing out there in some parts of the state. And so, the crop be you know as advanced as it would have been had it emerged earlier in the season. Moisture was a little limiting this year but we did get some pretty good rains through November and so I have no doubt that the eyespot fungus is out there and going and if you’ve planted a resistant variety again as with stripe rust you are in good shape. And there’s a lot of varieties that have good eyespot resistance. If you’ve planted a susceptible variety where similar to what we talked about with stripe rust, get out and monitor your crop to see whether you’ve got enough disease to make it worthwhile to spray. How do you know when that happens? Well, what we recommend is you get out, you collect at least 50 stems, take them someplace where you can wash them off and strip the outer sheaths off, and if you can see five out of 50 that have recognizable eyespot on them that represents 10%, there’s probably another 10% out there that you can’t recognize. So that’s 20% and that’s the threshold for considering a fungicide application.

Drew Lyon: Okay and I assume the Washington Crop Improvement Association also lists varieties resistance to this disease as well?

Tim Murray: Yep, that’s right. The crop improvement, we update that every year after we evaluate new and upcoming varieties. So, there are ratings in there. I think on that rating scale Madsen is about a four. And so, if you have a variety there’s comparable to Madsen, you’re going to be in pretty good shape. There are about right now I think seven different treatments that are registered fungicide treatments registered for eyespot control. Many of them contain an older fungicide in them, Topsin M or thiophanate-methyl is the active ingredient. That’s the material to which we have resistance in the pathogen population in the Pacific Northwest. So that’s a consideration. There are some materials in there that don’t include that. If you’ve had or know that you’ve had a fungicide resistance problem in the past.

Drew Lyon: Okay and are these recommendations also, can growers find that on the Wheat and Small Grains website?

Tim Murray:  Yes, they can.

Drew Lyon: Okay.

Tim Murray: Yeah. We have got some of our presentations up there from the past where he can they can go in and look at recommendations for the threshold and the treatments that are registered as well.

Drew Lyon: All right Tim. We’re very early in the season but I think it is time to start thinking about it. I’m sure growers are as they come out of this winter meeting season, their minds are thinking about all they have to think about. We appreciate you bringing this to their attention. And I’m sure we’ll have you on again later this year as some of these things start to develop out there in the field.

Tim Murray: Okay. Great. Thanks Drew.

Drew Lyon: Thank you, Tim.

[ Music ]

Drew Lyon: Thanks for joining us and listening to the WSU Wheat Beat podcast. If you like what you hear don’t forget to subscribe and leave a review on iTunes or your favorite podcasting app. If you have questions or topics, you’d like to hear on future episodes please email me at drew.lyon That’s lyon@wsu.edu (drew.lyon@wsu.edu). You can find us online at smallgrains.wsu.edu and on Facebook and Twitter @WSUSmallGrains. The WSU Wheat Beat podcast is a production of CAHNRS Communications and the College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences at Washington State University. I’m Drew Lyon, we’ll see you next time.

Australia and Harvest Weed Seed Control

With the help of Dr. Michael Walsh, Director of Weed Research for the University of Sydney, I received a Nancy Roma Paech Visiting Professorship in Agriculture from the University of Sydney Institute of Agriculture. The professorship covered most of my expenses for a seven-week visit to Australia starting in late October of last year. I gave five seminars on farming systems in Eastern Washington during my stay, but my primary goal for the trip was to establish a joint research project with Dr. Walsh and learn more about Harvest Weed Seed Control (HWSC). Listen to episode 47 of the WSU Wheat Beat Podcast to hear my interview with Dr. Walsh about HWSC.

The Australians have developed wide-spread herbicide-resistant weed populations. In response to this situation, and in an effort to maintain highly productive reduced tillage systems, they have developed and adopted HWSC. Harvest weed seed control takes advantage of the biological attribute of seed retention at maturity in some annual weed species. In Australia, annual ryegrass retains about 80% of its seed at harvest, wild radish about 99%, brome grass about 77%, and wild oat about 84%. These retained weed seeds can enter the combine at harvest time and rather than spreading them back out over the entire field, basically helping them to spread, they can be processed in various ways to reduce their viability and spread.

The majority of weed seeds that enter the combine during harvest, exit in the chaff fraction. Consequently, the chaff fraction is the focus of HWSC systems. Chaff carts, which act as bulk chaff collection bins, were one of the first HWSC used in Australia. However, management of the large volumes of collected chaff is difficult and adoption rates for this system are low.

Narrow-windrow burning is currently the most commonly used HWSC system in Australia. With this system, a chute is attached to the rear of the combine that concentrates the chaff and straw into a 20- to 24-inch windrow. These windrows are subsequently burned, when environmental conditions are favorable. Research in Australia and Eastern Washington has shown that 99% of annual ryegrass seed in the windrow is destroyed by this method. However, this system has several drawbacks including the destruction of crop residues that are critical for collecting and retaining soil water, reducing soil erosion, and promoting soil health. It also results in smoke, which poses health and safety issues.

The bale direct system uses a large square baler attached directly behind the combine that builds bales from the chaff, which contains the weed seeds, and straw exiting the combine. This system requires available markets for the baled material. There are concerns over removing too much crop residue, which is a source for both carbon and plant nutrients, and spreading weed seed as bales are moved on roads and highways.

The development and integration of impact mills, such as the integrated Harrington Seed Destructor, into the rear of combines, has shown great promise for processing the chaff during harvest to sufficiently control weed seeds. Currently, the cost of purchasing and operating this equipment is prohibitively high for many growers, but as development continues and costs come down, this may be the preferred HWSC system.

Chaff lining in harvester.
Chaff lining, where the chaff and weed seeds are laid down in a narrow line behind the combine. Weed seeds in the chaff struggle to survive in this inhospitable environment.
Chaff tramlining.
Chaff tramlining, where chaff and weed seeds are placed in the wheel track.
During my visit to Australia, I was involved with on-farm research looking at chaff tramlining and chaff lining. These are two low-cost HWCS systems that are rapidly gaining popularity in Australia. Attachments at the rear of the combine collect and place chaff into 10- to 12-inch rows, either in the wheel tracks (chaff tramlining) or between stubble rows directly behind the combine (chaff lining).

Many Australian farmers are using controlled traffic systems where they drive the same wheel tracks for all their field operations. This requires that all their equipment be set-up with the same wheel widths and that all the equipment is of the same width or factor of the same base width, for example, a 30-ft wide combine head and drill, and a 90-ft wide sprayer. Although controlled traffic allows chaff lines to be placed in the same spot every year, it is not critical to the success of chaff lining, although it is required for chaff tramlining.

Concentrating the chaff in narrow rows creates a hostile environment for weed seed germination and emergence. Those weeds that do emerge and grow are concentrated in the narrow rows where they compete with each other, thus reducing seed production, and affect less of the crop area. Subsequent weed control efforts, if required, can be concentrated on these narrow strips in the field. Chaff tramlining places the seed in the wheel rows where the soil is compacted, making growth and development even more difficult.

In my short visit to Australia, Dr. Walsh and I initiated a field study to look at the effect that stripper fronts (a.k.a. stripper headers or Shelbourne stripper headers) on combines have on HWSC. Stripper fronts harvest just the crop heads and pods, leaving tall, standing crop stubble that reduces wind erosion and evaporation from the soil surface, thus increasing soil water storage for subsequent crop use. Stripper fronts are becoming increasingly popular in Australia, but there are concerns that they may not be as effective at collecting weed seeds as conventional or draper fronts.

I would like to continue the research I began in Australia here in Eastern Washington. The weeds of primary interest to me at this time are: Italian ryegrass, downy brome, and feral rye (a.k.a. volunteer or cereal rye).  I am looking for growers that may be interested in making the necessary modifications to their combines to look at the effects of chaff lining on weed control of one of the above weed species. I am interested at looking at conventional platform, draper, and/or stripper fronts.


If this sounds like something you would be interested in, please contact me at drew.lyon@wsu.edu or 509-335-2961

2018 WSU Weed Control Report Now Available

The 2018 WSU Weed Control Report is now available on the Wheat and Small Grains website. Drew Lyon and Ian Burke, WSU weed scientists, manage numerous field studies to evaluate new herbicides, and new uses of older herbicides, to manage weeds of concern to dryland farmers in eastern Washington. These studies are summarized in the annual WSU Weed Control Report. The 2018 report summarizes 24 field studies conducted across eastern Washington in winter wheat (10 studies), spring wheat (3 studies), summer fallow (2 studies), chickpea (3 studies), dry pea (1 study), fall-sown pea (3 studies), and lentil (2 studies).

Weeds investigated include:

Annual reports back to 2013 are also available.

Disclaimer
Some of the pesticides discussed in the report were tested under an experimental use permit granted by WSDA. Application of a pesticide to a crop or site that is not on the label is a violation of pesticide law and may subject the applicator to civil penalties up to $7,500. In addition, such an application may also result in illegal residues that could subject the crop to seizure or embargo action by WSDA and/or the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. It is your responsibility to check the label before using the product to ensure lawful use and obtain all necessary permits in advance.


Register now for 2019 WSU Oilseed Workshops!

Registration is open for the annual WSU-WOCS Oilseed Workshops slated for January 23 in Wilbur and January 25 in Clarkston.  Our emphasis this year is on Stand Establishment, and we’ve got a lot of information to share with you from around the PNW and North America. Planting equipment, variety selection, hands-on diagnostics, marketing, crop and chemical rotation, plant growth regulators, and more are on the docket.  Registration, agendas, and other information can be found at the WSU-WOCS website.

2019 WSU Oilseed Workshops Flyer (pdf)


For questions or comments, contact Karen Sowers via email at ksowers@wsu.edu or via phone at 509-396-5936.

Cover Cropping & Companion Cropping for the Inland Northwest: An Initial Feasibility Study Publication

Eastern Washington wheat growers may be interested a new WSU Extension technical bulletin titled, “Cover Cropping and Companion Cropping for the Inland Northwest: An Initial Feasibility Study”. The technical bulletin describes recent work on cover crops and companion cropping done by Diana Roberts, Spokane County Extension Specialist, together with Lincoln and Spokane County farmers, at the WSU Wilke Research Farm. In 2011, farmers who attended a Washington State University Extension workshop were inspired and intrigued by the success of Midwest farmers in using cover-crop cocktails for this purpose. A group of innovative growers developed the goal of learning how to include a cover crop or companion crop in their rotation to raise soil organic matter levels, break disease cycles, suppress weeds, penetrate soil compaction layers, and improve soil fertility by fixing atmospheric nitrogen. Multi-species cover crops and companion crops grown to improve soil health within grain production systems are of increasing interest nationwide. In addition, they wanted to make this system work with the winter precipitation (Mediterranean climate) of their area.

Cover for the cover cropping publication

To maximize benefit to the reader, the experimental process is outlined, including mistakes and lessons learned. In this study, spring seeding of cover crops in place of fallowing the ground resulted in excessive loss of soil moisture. This, in turn, raised the risk of crop germination failure in the subsequent fall. Growing companion crops together with a cash crop shows potential for attaining the growers’ desired goal. However, not all obstacles have been identified, and more research should be conducted to optimize recommendations.

Australian Weed Seed Control with Michael Walsh

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Show Notes & Resources Mentioned:

Contact Information:

For questions or comments, contact Michael Walsh via email at m.j.walsh@sydney.edu.au.


What is a podcast?

For those of you who are newer to the medium, a podcast is like a pre-recorded radio show. In the same way that you turn on a talk radio show, you have to turn on a podcast. The major difference is that while our cars are equipped to find radio frequencies, they are not built to accommodate direct access to podcasts. On your smartphone or computer with internet access (since the files tend to be on the larger side), you can discover podcast shows of any kind, in any field, on any topic.

Listed above are some of the most used podcast hosts. iTunes and the iTunes Podcast app are preinstalled on your iPhone and are the simplest tools to use. You simply search for “WSU Wheat Beat Podcast” in the search bar, hit “subscribe” and the download arrow, and listen whenever it’s most convenient for you.

If you use an Android or use another type of smartphone, you will need to find a different podcasting app because those devices don’t come with a preinstalled app like Apple. If you don’t know which podcast app you’d like, simply hit the “Android” link above and it will show you to several Android podcast apps for you to choose from.

After you download an episode, you can listen without using data any time of day. Our goal is to post a new podcast every other Monday. Your podcast app should automatically load our new episodes and download them for you (on WiFi), hands-free if you choose that in the app settings.

If you have further questions about what a podcast is, which app is best for you or need more assistance with getting started with podcasts, don’t hesitate to contact us.


Episode Transcription:

[ Music ]

Drew Lyon: Hello, and welcome to the WSU Wheat Beat Podcast. I’m your host, Drew Lyon, and I want to thank you for joining me as we explore the world of small grains production and research at Washington State University. We have weekly discussions with researchers from WSU and the USDA-ARS to provide you with insights into the latest research on wheat and barley production. If you enjoy the WSU Wheat Beat Podcast, do us a favor and subscribe on iTunes or your favorite podcasting app. And leave us a review while you’re there so others can find the show too.

[ Music ]

Drew Lyon: My guest today is Michael Walsh. Michael is an associate professor and Director of Weed Research at the University of Sydney, where he is responsible for leading weed research and development across Australia’s northern grain cropping region. Michael completed his bachelors of science at the University of Western Australia, his masters of science from Latrobe University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Wyoming. For over two decades, he has focused on the development and adoption of harvest weed seed control systems. Hello, Michael.

Michael Walsh: Hi, Drew. How are you?

Drew Lyon: I’m doing well. Herbicide resistance is getting to be quite an issue here in the U.S., but I guess nothing compared to what you’re experiencing there in Australia. I wonder if you can describe the situation with herbicide resistance in Australia for our listeners.

Michael Walsh: Yeah, sure, it’s been quite a dramatic evolution of herbicide resistance pretty much right across the Australian wheat belt. Forty million hectares, now it’s difficult to find populations of annual rye grass, in particular, that are susceptible to herbicides anymore. So, the survey work that we done over the last 10 to 15 years has shown that for annual rye grass, our dominant wheat, on average, we’re seeing 75-80% of populations, randomly collected populations, that are resistant to one or more herbicides.

Drew Lyon: Oh, okay, that sounds fairly similar to our Italian ryegrass here, where we’re seeing a lot of resistance. Not many herbicides that still work anymore. So, you kind of come up with this novel approach to this situation, kind of a non-herbicidal approach. Can you tell us a little bit about what harvest weed seed control is all about?

Michael Walsh: So, harvest weed seed control, as the name suggests, Drew, is all about targeting weed seeds during the harvest operation. So, we learnt — well, farmers actually learnt several years ago that a lot of the weeds in our cropping systems retain their seeds at crop maturity, and that means that during the harvest operation, these weed seeds get collected by the harvester, and farmers were observing that these weed seeds were coming out in primarily in the chaff fraction. So, they would exist the harvester in the chaff fraction, and a consequence of that is that those weed seeds get spread across the field, and it’s almost like a reseeding operation. And farmers were pretty quick to recognize that the impact of that was just more weeds more widely spread the following year. So, they started playing around with systems and techniques that would intercept that process and do something about targeting that weed-seed-bearing chaff fraction, in particular.

Drew Lyon: Okay, so, what kinds of things can you do with that chaff fraction to try to get on top of that situation?

Michael Walsh: So, the first things they started looking at was actually a Canadian innovation called chaff cuts, and in Canada, those cuts were used to collect chaff for feed. Some Australian growers introduced and used them to collect that chaff fraction, primarily just to collect the weed seeds, and then, sometimes they would use it for the stock feed, but typically, they would just burn that material to just make sure that they would destroy those weed seeds contained. So, those first started being used back in the early 1990s. And then, there’s been a progression of systems that have been developed and have evolved since that time, and they all target the chaff fraction predominantly. The next one that came along was something called narrow windrow burning, and the idea was to concentrate material into narrow rows about 50 centimeters wide behind the harvester, with the idea of just setting that material up as a fuel source for a subsequent burning operation. After that, there was the development of a bale-direct system, which followed on from the chaff cut where a grower who had originally introduced the chaff cuts started that he wanted to try and make an economic return from the material that he was destroying. And so, he developed a system where he’s attached a baler that’s driven by the harvester, collects all the chaff and straw material, and then, those bales produced during the harvest operation are subsequently sold off farm, and in the process, the weed seeds are removed, as well. The following system to be developed was the Harrington seed destructor. Again, a grower decided that the burning and the collection of chaff material wasn’t quite as efficient as they wanted it to be. So, he came up with a process to chaff material during the harvest operation to effectively destroy the weed seeds. And then, finally, the latest systems that have evolved are things called chaff lining and chaff tramlining. The idea is you concentrate just the chaff material into a narrow row, either on the wheel tracks in a tramlining system or onto a — in a narrow row just directly behind the harvester. And the process, then is just to leave that material in place. Don’t disturb it, and let what the famers refer to as a multifit occur with the weed seeds are much in a hostile environment, and they don’t tend to germinate and emerge at a very high frequency anyway.

Drew Lyon: So, a number of approaches to controlling these weeds. I know I became interested in what you’re doing shortly after arriving in Washington, back in 2012. I read a couple of your papers, and I remember contacting you, and we’ve had a couple projects together, where I’ve tried to do some of this work here in Washington, and very shortly, I’m going to be coming over to spend some time with you and get a first-hand experience. I wonder if you could tell my listeners research we’ll be doing when I’m over there, and what you hope to be able to teach me while I’m there, I guess.

Michael Walsh: Ah, well, we’ve got big plans for you, Drew. We’ve got a lot of harvest work organized, both through New South Wales and even in Western Australia. I guess a focus of it is looking at the implications for harvest weed seed control, as the farming systems change. There’s quite a movement at the moment with the adoption of stripper harvester fronts. Now these have a quite different mechanism of action compared to the traditional draper or real fronts, which has implications in terms of the amount of weed seeds that are collected during harvest. So, harvest weed seed control systems rely completely on the collection of weeds seeds during harvest. So, if these new stripper fronts don’t collect weed seeds, then that makes the use of harvest weed seed control systems a little redundant. So, we’ve got some preliminary studies we conducted last year, and we found that there is quite high levels of collection of annual rye grass. Under certain conditions, the stripper fronts do actually collect the seed heads. They pluck the seed heads like they pluck the wheat heads. So that was really encouraging. I should add the reason for the adoption of stripper fronts in Australian cropping systems is just the need to have standing stubble rather than chopped-and-spread stubble. We’ve learnt that standing stubble is much more friendly to the — or much more conducive to soil moisture conservation. The soil surface temperatures are cooler over summer, which means we have less evaporative losses, which subsequently means that we have more stored moisture for the following crop. And so, that’s, as you are probably aware, being dry for production in Australia is just the ability to conserve low and variable rainfall as it falls is key to successful cropping. So, in terms of what we’re going to be doing this summer, we’re going to be looking at other weed species. Wild radish will be a focus, brassica weed. It’s got pods that we think stripper fronts may not actually collect those pods. We know that the stripper fronts are not particularly effective on canola. There’s lots of seed loss, and we suspect that may be the case for wild radish, which is our second-most problematic weed in Australian cropping. And we’ll test other species, as well, such as brown grass, barley grass, and wild oats, as well.

Drew Lyon: I think it will be interesting to see how the system works across a variety of systems, because here in Washington, we have quite a variety. We have the very dry wheat-fallow area, and then when you get to the Palouse it’s actually some of the most productive wheat country in the world, with very high residue levels, very high wheat production, and seeing whether we can get the system to work across that wide variation will be very interesting, and how you test that will be very interesting to me. Because I’ve been told, and I think I agree with this that herbicides are probably not the solution to herbicide resistance. It’s going to take creative thinking like you’ve shown in Australia if we’re going to get on top of this very complicated problem.

Michael Walsh: Yeah, that’s exactly right. Herbicides are not the solution, but they are part of the answer. And we do need to do things around herbicides to support them and have this weed seed control. We love to refer to it as being the last opportunity to impose a weed control during the growing season. It’s just that last chance before the weed seeds go into the seed bin. So, yeah, we do need to do something at the end of the year, and the harvest has created that opportunity. And yeah, part of what we’re doing now is to make sure that we do retain that opportunity, as the harvesting or cropping systems continue to progress and evolve.

Drew Lyon: Yeah, so I guess it’s an opportunity we’ve missed in the past, and hopefully, we can add it to our repertoire of tools to use for harvest weed seed control. I’m really looking forward to my trip, and I hope towards the end of the trip, or maybe want to get back, we can visit again a little bit, and you can explain to my listeners what we did, what we learned, and whether I’m any kind of student or not.

Michael Walsh: [ chuckles ] Yeah, and it should be good fun, too, Drew. It’ll not only be an educational experience, it’ll be hot, dusty work, as always at harvest time, but yeah, it’ll be good fun.

Drew Lyon: Very good. Well, Michael, I really appreciate you being my first international guest on the WSU Wheat Beat Podcast, and I hope to have you on again. Thank you very much.

Michael Walsh: No problem. My pleasure, Drew.

[ Music ]

Drew Lyon: Thanks for joining us and listening to the WSU Wheat Beat Podcast. If you like what you hear, you can subscribe on iTunes or your favorite podcasting app so you never miss an episode. And leave us a review while you’re there. If you have questions for us that you’d like to hear addressed on future episodes, please email me at drew.lyon@wsu.edu. You can find us online at smallgrains.wsu.edu. You can also reach out on Facebook and Twitter @WSUSmallGrains. The WSU Wheat Beat Podcast is a production of CAHNRS communications in the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences at Washington State University. I’m Drew Lyon. We’ll see you next week.

“WSU’s Randy Fortenbery Paints a Troubling Economic Picture in Hopeful Colors” Podcast

Episode 102 of Wheat All About It! features agricultural economist Randy Fortenbery from the Crop and Soil Sciences Dryland Cropping Systems team.

Join Scott Yates, director of Communications and producer relations for the Washington Grain Commission in, “WSU’s Randy Fortenbery Paints a Troubling Economic Picture in Hopeful Colors Part Two” the second of two parts. In this episode, Scott and Randy, the agricultural economist, discuss the handicaps wheat prices for the near term and a year from now, talks about the budding trade war with China and looks at the $12 billion solution USDA will provide farmers if the blocked trade flow isn’t unclogged. Episode 102 finds Fortenbery mining USDA data, including a forecast that anticipates the European Union will become the largest wheat exporter as U.S. market share shrinks. Does market share matter? Fortenbery warns it can. He further cautioned that once disruptions shifts world markets, trade doesn’t necessarily revert to the past if another origin can continue to satisfy demand.

Wheat All About It Logo.
Listen to part one, titled, “WSU’s Randy Fortenbery Paints a Troubling Economic Picture in Hopeful Colors Part One

Find this podcast on your smartphone podcast app, simply download and open the app and search “Wheat All About It”. You can also get the podcast at the Washington Grain Commission website or by subscribing on iTunes or your favorite podcasting app.

For those of you with slower internet speeds at home, think ahead and download episodes when you have strong cell service (four bars is fast) or anywhere Wi-Fi is available, and listen to the episode later in your truck, tractor, or easy chair.


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