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A New Publication: Advances in Dryland Farming in the Inland Pacific Northwest








The newly published book, Advances in Dryland Farming in the Inland Pacific Northwest, compiles advanced knowledge of dryland farming gained during the six-year Regional Approaches to Climate Change (REACCH) project. This book is an excellent guide to sustainable agriculture practices. The aim of this book is to support farmers during their decision-making process and to enhance farm resilience to the challenges in climate mitigation, soil health, and environmental pressure, world grain market fluctuation, etc.

For questions or comments, contact Haiying Tao by email at


Where We Are with Wireworms Podcast

Paperboy_1400Recently, Aaron Esser was interviewed by Scott Yates, director of communications at the Washington Grain Commission for an update on wireworms. In episode 26 of the Wheat All About It! podcast, Esser talks about where we were and where we are today thanks to the great strides WSU researchers have made in understanding and controlling wireworms in Eastern Washington.

Listen to episode 26, Where We Are with Wireworms, and don’t forget to subscribe to the Wheat All About It! podcast on iTunes. Search for Wheat All About It. A summary of podcasts, including many highlighting WSU researchers is available at the WGC website:

For questions or comments, contact Aaron Esser by email at or Scott Yates at

Proper Sprayer Cleanout Can Prevent Crop Injury

The strip of winter peas in the middle of this picture were sprayed with Clethodim 2 EC, but the observed injury was from the previous products in the sprayer: Huskie + Osprey. A water rinse is never adequate when using a tank-cleaning herbicide like clethodim. This injury could have been avoided by carefully cleaning the sprayer before switching from spraying wheat to spraying peas.

The strip of winter peas in the middle of this picture were sprayed with Clethodim 2 EC, but the observed injury was from the previous products in the sprayer: Huskie + Osprey. A water rinse is never adequate when using a tank-cleaning herbicide like clethodim. This injury could have been avoided by carefully cleaning the sprayer before switching from spraying wheat to spraying peas.

We have received a number of phone calls recently concerning crop damage in peas treated with herbicides containing the active ingredient clethodim. Clethodim is an ACCase inhibitor (Group 1) used to control grass weeds in broadleaf crops. There is no clethodim activity on broadleaf crops like peas. So why is there sometimes injury to peas?

Clethodim products containing 26.4% or 2 pounds of clethodim per gallon (for example, Arrow 2 EC, Clethodim 2 EC, and Select 2 EC) contain as much as 70% petroleum distillates. This high level of petroleum distillates, combined with the required crop oil concentrate and liquid fertilizer additives, can act as a sprayer cleaner, dislodging old herbicide residues that are embedded in tank walls or hoses, resulting in unwanted herbicide residue in the sprayer liquid. It is these residues, and not the clethodim, that are injuring the peas.

This type of damage, which is not unique to clethodim products, can be avoided by properly cleaning sprayers between applications, particularly when changing what crop is being treated. While proper sprayer cleanouts are time-consuming, it can save a lot of money and misery. Removing Herbicide Residues from Agricultural Application Equipment is an excellent publication by Purdue Extension that can help you do a good job of sprayer cleanout and possibly save you headaches and dollars down the road.

For questions, contact Drew Lyon (509-335-2961 or or Ian Burke (509-335-2858 or

New Bulletin Published on the Wheat Head Armyworm Complex

ArmywormA newly published Extension Bulletin, PNW696, is titled “Integrated Pest Management for the Wheat Head Armyworm Complex in the Pacific Northwest.”

Since 2005, the wheat head armyworm has caused intermittent damage to wheat and barley crops in the PNW.

The two insect species found responsible were initially dubbed the “true” and “false” wheat head armyworms. As these species are closely related, we now refer to them as the wheat head armyworm complex (WHAC).

This publication covers identification, biology, and integrated pest management for WHAC. We emphasize pest monitoring and field scouting methods, and also discuss natural insecticides.

Authors are Diana Roberts, WSU Extension; Silvia I. Rondon, OSU Extension; Peter J. Landolt, USDA-ARS.

Don’t Worry About LMA and FN Yet

golden wheatIn 2016, Washington state wheat farmers experienced widespread problems with low Falling Numbers, for which we created our Grain Quality Resources page. The widespread low Falling Number issue was partly due to Late Maturity Alpha-Amylase (LMA) in response to wildly fluctuating temperatures about one month after pollen shedding. The high temperatures in the 90s on May 30 followed by high temperatures in the 60s has some farmers worried that we’re going to see a repeat of last year’s Falling Number fiasco. Such worries are premature because the wheat hasn’t yet reached the point where it is sensitive to fluctuating temperatures.

It is difficult to pinpoint the window of LMA-sensitivity for this year’s crop because it depends on when the wheat reached pollen-shedding, an event that depends on temperature and varies by variety. Wheat in central Washington reached pollen-shedding during the week following Memorial Day, while wheat further east is just starting to head.

Based on this, we guesstimate that wheat in central Washington may become LMA-sensitive during the last two weeks of June, while wheat further to the east may become LMA-sensitive within the first two weeks of July.

For questions or comments, contact Camille Steber, PhD, USDA-ARS, Molecular Geneticist, by email at or Ryan Higginbotham at

Residue Yield Calculator is Now Online

Crop residue is a valuable by-product in crop production. Leaving adequate amounts of residue on agriculture fields can effectively control soil erosion and improve soil health. Crop residue can also be used as a feedstock for biofuel, paper, or mushroom production and as feed and bedding for livestock.

Estimating how much crop residue your crop can produce is important for understanding how the residue can be used to add economic or ecological benefits to your farm’s operation. Unlike estimating grain yield, which is typically measured directly through yield monitoring, residue production is generally estimated indirectly based on grain yield. To help farmers estimate crop residue biomass yield, Washington State University has developed a Residue Production Calculator.

Crop residue estimates are based on peer-reviewed equations that describe relationships between residue and grain yield for dryland cereal and legume crops grown in the inland Pacific Northwest (iPNW). Although iPNW-calibrated equations are unavailable for rye, triticale, and canola, the Residue Production Calculator estimates residue production based on typical harvest indices for these crops.

Access the Residue Yield Calculator.

For questions or comments, contact Haiying Tao by email at at the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, Washington State University.

residue 1 residue 2


Seeding Rate Converter is Now Online

seedingrateSeeding rate is among the many factors that affect grain yield that can be controlled. The ability to control seeding rate allows farmers flexibility in their management practices. For example, when fall seeding is delayed the tillering period is shortened. To compensate for this reduction in fall tillers, farmers can increase seeding rates.

To some extent, wheat is inherently capable of compensating for factors that influence yield. However, optimum seeding rate are required to optimize the plant population, which in turn is important for maximizing grain yield and quality and controlling weeds.

Seeding rates are typically expressed as seeds per acre or pounds per acre. Determining seeding rates using pounds per acre is problematic because seed size and weight can differ considerably among plant varieties. Seeding different varieties at the same pounds per acre can result in significantly different plant populations. Therefore, to maximize yield seeding rate recommendations in pounds per acre should be converted to seeds per acre.

Sometimes recommendations for good wheat stands are based on seedlings per foot of row. To use this recommendation, a farmer must decide the optimal number of seeds per foot of row at time of planting. This number can be estimated by identifying the target seedling number per foot of row and adjusting that number for seed germination and mortality rates. This adjusted target number of seedlings equals the number of seeds that should be planted per foot of row. The final seeding rate can then be calculated as pounds per acre.

Calculating seeding rates and converting among the different units of measure—seeds per acre, pounds per acre, or seedlings per foot of row—can be tedious and time-consuming. Washington State University has developed a user-friendly, online seeding rate converter that is now available for your convenience.

For questions or comments, contact Haiying Tao ( at the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, Washington State University.

New Publication Available on Mayweed Chamomile, a.k.a., Dog Fennel

Mayweed ChamomileConsider yourself very lucky if you have not had to deal with mayweed chamomile, a.k.a., dog fennel, in your wheat or pulse crops! Mayweed chamomile is a troublesome weed in small grain and pulse crops throughout the high rainfall zones of the Inland Pacific Northwest. It is an annual that can germinate in the fall or spring and that reproduces only by seed. Individual plants can produce as many as 17,000 seeds, and seed remain viable in the soil for many years. Preventing seed production is the key to managing mayweed chamomile! While herbicides are an effective tool for mayweed chamomile control, herbicide-resistant biotypes are an increasing concern. The new Extension publication PNW695 ‘Integrated Management of Mayweed Chamomile in Wheat and Pulse Crop Production Systems’ is now available on the Wheat and Small Grains website. This publication will help growers and crop consultants develop an integrated program for the management of this prolific weed in wheat and pulse crop production.

For questions or comments, contact Drew Lyon at or by phone at 509-335-2961.

WSU Winter Canola Field Tours

IMG_6388_tnMark your calendars – we’ve got 3 winter canola tours planned next Tuesday and Wednesday with lots of information presented at each site.

All three tours will feature our large-scale winter canola variety trials, along with a wide range of other canola production information. The Odessa site will also include the UI winter canola variety trials so this is a great opportunity to see variety performance in different environments.

Click on the links to the flyers below for information and directions specific to each location.

The afternoon tours will be followed by a BBQ (RSVP requested).

To RSVP and for more details, contact Karen Sowers by phone at 808-283-7013 or by email at


It’s Time to Scout for Blackleg in Winter Canola

If you haven’t already been walking your canola fields, now is the time, particularly after the very wet fall, warm temperatures right up to snow cover, and the extensive period of snow cover that added up to what can be perfect conditions for blackleg. In winter canola, look for lesions on primarily the lower leaves and leaf material that died back during the winter. The center of the lesions will have tiny black specks (pycnidia). Residue from previous canola crops and cover crops containing Brassica species should also be observed. Collect suspicious leaves, stems, and/or residues, and drop off or mail to WSU, UI, or OSU.

Click here for an FAQ document, and here for a blackleg update from WOCS.

Both documents include who to contact at WSU, OSU and UI for assistance.

Picnidia_blackleg P1010135_tn



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