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Wheat & Small Grains Blythe Howell, Small Grains Extension

“The Vagaries of Varieties” Podcast

Episode 43 of Wheat All About It! is an interview with Ryan Higginbotham about the Variety Testing Program. Ryan Higginbotham, director of Washington State University’s Variety  Selection & Testing Program, looks back over the 2016/2017 wheat growing season from the perspective of someone who farms throughout Eastern Washington’s diverse precipitation zones in the first of… » More ...

Evaluate Soil Test Results for Applications of Nutrients

The application of some micronutrients has been shown to increase winter and spring wheat production yields. A full analysis of soil samples will provide information as to which essential nutrients are deficient and providing limited availability to the young plants as they develop. Recent research results have shown the potential to increase winter wheat yields… » More ...

New Herbicide Mechanism of Action Tool for Pulse Crop Growers Available

Herbicide-resistant weeds are a growing concern in the Pacific Northwest, the US, and globally. One of the key tactics in the fight against herbicide-resistant weeds is to alternate or combine herbicides with different modes of action, however, it is often difficult for growers to know what active ingredient(s) are in the jug they just bought and… » More ...

National Survey Shows Cover Crops Improve Wheat Yields

A 2017 USDA SARE (Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education) national survey of farmers showed that cover crops boosted subsequent wheat yields by 1.9 bushels/acre (2.8%). Farmers also reported using cover crops to aid in weed management, especially where herbicide resistance was a problem. While cover cropping has been a trendy discussion topic in agriculture in… » More ...

USDA September 1 Stocks Estimate Suggests Flat Prices Through 2017: Quick Market Update

USDA released their September 1 grain stocks estimates on Friday, September 29, 2017.  For wheat, this represents the inventory being carried into the second quarter of the marketing year (the wheat marketing year goes from June 1 through the following May 31).  In recent years, the second quarter wheat inventory has been a pretty reliable… » More ...

WSU Offers First Two-Day Workshop on “Unmanned Aerial Systems in Agriculture”

Drone in flight via two men with remote control.
In the past few years, unmanned aerial systems (UAS) or drones have fascinated growers, crop service providers, and researchers alike with versatile imaging and non-imaging application capabilities. The Agribusiness industry is trying to keep up with rapid developments in this sector. As stakeholders are exploring the suitability of the drones in agricultural production management, the… » More ...

2017 WSU Variety Testing Results

Winter wheat harvest results from the 2017 WSU Cereal Variety Testing Program are complete and posted on our website.  Spring wheat and barley results will be added as soon as they are available.  Winter wheat results have been uploaded to the Variety Selection Tool. The interactive selection tool presents you with a two-year average of… » More ...

Why It Is Important To Calibrate Your Seed Drills

Some producers across the state are in the middle of harvest while others have sent the last grain truck to the elevator and are getting geared up for seeding. An important question to ask your self is this: can I set the notches on the drill to a seed index of 45 and not look back? Even with a new drill, the answer should be “No”. Everyone has their preferred seed drill whether it is an old John Deere HZ drill or one of the new air seeders. No matter the type of seed drill used, one should always calibrate to ensure proper seeding rates. If too much seed is going out, one could be wasting dollars. Also, your yields will likely suffer if plants are competing against each other, so, after you have chosen your variety, make sure to calibrate your drill. If you plant too little seed, your fields won’t produce to its full potential. You’ll have more weed pressure and disappointing yields. Because drills meter by volume and seed is planted by weight, the only way to be sure you’re seeding at the right rate is to calibrate your drill.

Make sure to check out our Seeding Rate Converter that can help with the calibration process.

The YouTube video titled “Seed Drill Calibration” demonstrates a step-by-step process for calibrating a seed drill

Here is a PDF titled “Ready. Set. Seed” was presented at the 2014 Direct and Oilseed Cropping Systems Conference in regards to planting canola. 


Dale Whaley, Regional Extension Specialist in Integrated Weed Management and AgricultureFor questions or comments, contact Dale Whaley by phone at (509) 745-8531 or by email at

Washington State University