Monday, July 23, 2012

Thunderstorms and lightning impact area farms

Helix City Hall, Helix, Oregon
Fallow field erosion
Last week's thunderstorms and lightning impacted area farms in Umatilla County. Fields north of Pendleton had erosion in sheets which is very unusual, and also following the tillage lines which is more common.
As fallow fields this time of year have been tilled and prepped for fall seeding, the level of residue left on the soil surface offers little protection from the type of deluge of rain that a thunderstorm cell drops on a concentrated area.

In the rolling hills of our dryland farming area, the water, surface residue(straw pieces from last year's crop), and soil ends up collecting in roadside ditches and concentrating into significant amounts as the city of Helix can attest to.... In the case of thunderstorms - the rate and intensity of the downpour overwhelm the soils ability of capture the water and thus the fields at the heart of the storm saw some significant levels of soil loss.
On my drive home Friday, I was watch yet another thunderstorm and lightning event. The lightning started a fire in a field of wheat causing about $30,000 in losses according to local new media.

To finish the day, a double rainbow appeared during my evening walk...which really explains without words why I love living here in eastern Oregon...for life is certainly never boring, and if you don't like the weather, just wait an hour and it will change.

Cheers, Mary

Yield results from Oregon State University Statewide Variety testing

The harvest results are starting to come in from the 2012 OSU Statewide Wheat Variety Testing program. The first results are from the Hermiston Research and Extension Center. These trials are for soft white and hard winter varieties. 

There was a severe and uniform infection of barley yellow dwarf virus at the Hermiston site which significantly reduced grain yields, plant height, and maturity.There were some visual differences in the disease expression seen during the Wheat Field Day early this year. While the seed was treated with an insecticide at planting, with a long open fall with significant aphid pressure the seed treatment did not last long enough to prevent infection last fall.

OR08047P94 tops the list for the second year in a row, and "Mary" makes a good showing after being rank 11th last year. 

We will be posting the variety trial results on my website OSU CerealCentral as they are available.  So be watch for future updates.