Monday, August 31, 2009

Fall flight of Wheathead Armyworm moths begins?

Last week I found a "false" Wheathead Armyworm moth (1)in a pheromone trap near Helix, Oregon. This is the first moth I have seen since last June. I will continue to monitor the traps through September to see if we do indeed get a fall flight of moths as literature suggests is possible.

Fall seeding of winter wheat has starting here in northeastern Oregon, along with some forest fires and blazing sunsets.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Skeletonweed..the silent invasion

Rush Skeletonweed, a perennial weed, continues to invade new areas in Umatilla County. I looked at a small patch of Skeletonweed near Athena, Oregon this week. Almost 25 years has passed since I was involved in the first sighting of Skeletonweed in our county. While it has not spread as quickly as we first thought it would, it has continued to move into new areas over the years.
Perennial weeds will likely be an increasing threat as we reduce the amount of tillage in our production system. Also as we plant perennial buffers along waterways and streams, perennial weeds like Canada Thistle, Russian Knapweed and Skeletonweed will likely get established and require more attention. For more information on weeds and their control visit the following sites: and the Pacific Northwest Weed Management Handbook.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Wheat Varieties - Selecting for the Current Conditions

Selecting a variety best suited for your location, field conditions and production system is a yearly challenge for growers. Not very many years ago, most times for a soft white winter wheat – Stephens was the hands-down favorite. Now we have many more choices of both public and private varieties. Selecting the right variety is about minimizing your risk from crop diseases and stress why maximizing one’s yield potential.

Last fall all four locations of the Umatilla County Variety Drill Strip Trials were seeded into dry conditions. The seeding dates were from October 1st to October 20th. These dry conditions continued into late October and plants were slow to germinate and went into the winter fairly small. Given these conditions, it was Goetze that preformed well. Goetze was the highest yielding at three sites (Straughan, Woodward, and CTUIR).

Goetze is a newer release from OSU and is adaptable for our area but has a risk for damage from cold temperatures. Goetze is a wheat that needs little or no chilling for to initiate flowering. Testing suggests that it is similar to the variety Gene. For additional information on Goetze, see OSU publication – EM8957-e found online at

For some areas of the county, this year may present an opportunity to seed early. Early seeding can result in higher yields when seedbed moisture is adequate. However, crop diseases such as Cephalosporium stripe, strawbreaker (eyespot) footrot, Fusarium crown rot, and Barley Yellow Dwarf Virus can be problems. Variety seeding date studies conducted by OSU Cereal Specialist, Mike Flowers, in 2006 and 2007, show that Tubbs06 and ORCF -102 may be the better choice for early seeding. These varieties have a good disease resistance package along with cold tolerance to maximize yield.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Harvest wraps up

Harvesting my field research trials was complete as of last Friday afternoon as we were able to harvest at Hales Farms near Midway Elevator. Mark, Jake and Jules were gracious cooperators as always.
Results for all the trials are available at Monday I tested grain samples from the variety drill strip trials for proteins and test weights. Test weights ranged from 57 lbs to 60 lbs/bushel.
It feels good to have harvest completed. A few farms are still finishing up in the area, as a record setting rainfall on August 6-7th kept many combines idled last week waiting for grain moisture levels to return to below 12%.
I want to thank all my cooperators for their dedication to doing on-farm research that is of great value not just for their farm but many neighboring farms and even the region. It is rarely convenient and always requires some extra effort on their part to make these trials happen.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Drill Strip Variety Trials show newer varieties boost yield

Drill strip variety trials give growers the opportunity to see new wheat varieties in local fields at a scale closer to normal production. The plots are normally 40 ft. wide by 600-700 ft. long.

The plots are established in the fall using the grower's drill, and then harvested the following summer with the grower combine.

A weigh wagon is used to measure the bushels produced in each plot, and yields are calculated on the tailgate of the pickup in the grower's fields.

Today's harvest was near Athena, Oregon in a direct seeded field. The yields are as follows:

Jim Straughan Farm, harvested August 6, 2009

Variety Bu/Ac
Goetze 69.4 bu
ORCF101 69.5 bu
ORCF102 66.6 bu
Skiles 63.5 bu
Stephens 67.2 bu
Tubbs06 62.3 bu

Monday, August 3, 2009

Harvest Heatwave continues

Harvest and the heatwave continue into a new week. We harvested the final harvest of the Fallow Systems study last week at Newtson Farms. Results were similar to previous years' data, with no surprises.
I have added some wheat harvest pictures and a few hot looking sunset photos to my photo site on Shutterfly. Take a look and enjoy!
Stay cool if possible...if not possible drink lots of water!