Thursday, March 25, 2010

March madness: Wheat weed control options

March madness this spring has cherry trees in full bloom, and apple blossoms ready to pop open. Recent above average temperatures have hastened the arrival of spring and now wheat growers are hoping for April showers for their wheat fields. With April 1st coming just next week, growers are also facing a cutoff date of applications of some herbicides especially in Milton-Freewater and the adjacent Walla Walla Valley areas.

A quick check with MiltonFreewater fruit and grape growers today, indicates that leaves are starting to emerge on horticultural crops in the Walla Walla Valley, which raises the need for additional care to be taken as herbicide applications on wheat as other crops are ahead of “normal” development. Grapes continue to be the most sensitive crop found in the area. Herbicide drift can injure foliage, shoots, flowers and fruits. If injury is severe enough, or occurs repeatedly, it can cause reduced yield, poor fruit quality, and occasionally, vine death.

For downy brome control, Powerflex and Olympus Flex are good choices. Powerflex offers a 9 month plantback restriction which offers some flexibility in future planting decisions. Dan Ball, OSU Weed Scientist recommends a full 3.5 oz rate for a spring application of Powerflex. It has good crop safety, and while he has noted some yellowing with Powerflex under cool application conditions but he hasn’t seen this to affect yield.

For more information visit OSU Extension Cereal Central webpage.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Soil Borne Wheat Disease Expands

The wheat disease, soilborne wheat mosaic virus, has made itself known this spring in parts of the Walla Walla Valley in southern Washington and northeastern Oregon. This is the second time it has appeared, but this time it is more noticeable and wider spread than 2 years ago according to local crop consultant Jerry Zahl of Walla Walla. Two years ago affected areas were small and limited to low lying areas. This time around more fields are affected and larger areas are showing symptoms. Spofford area near Milton-Freewater, Oregon and in the Mill Creek and Russell Creek areas east of Walla Walla, Washington are again seeing the disease.Visit for more information.