Registration opened Oct. 10 for Washington State University’s hands-on Wheat Academy.
In the past, the program — which has space for 75 participants — has filled up in eight days to three weeks, said Drew Lyon, WSU weed science professor.
The two-day academy is Dec. 11-12 on the WSU campus in Pullman. Courses run 90 minutes, with presenters offering hands-on opportunities.
Lyon said he hopes growers leave the academy with a deeper understanding of the science behind management decisions and researcher recommendations.
“It’s more intimate with the scientists and presenters,” Lyon said. “The first year we did this, we had some growers walking out of a (soil chemistry) class just shaking their heads and saying, ‘Wow, that was pretty deep, but I loved it.’”
Participants pick eight of 12 available courses.
“There’s always something to be worried about if you’re a farmer and always something to do if you’re a researcher, always some problem to be looking into,” Lyon said. “Hopefully we do a good job of covering the bases — we have entomology talks, disease talks, soils talks, weeds talks.”
Topics this year include herbicide decisions in integrated weed management systems; balancing soil fertility and crop root growth; nutrient management in wheat cropping systems; market strategy development; pulse production; diversifying the PNW’s wheat portfolio; drones in agriculture and a tour of WSU’s wheat greenhouses, with wheat breeders academy participants getting to try to make plant crosses.
Farmers pay $75, while industry members pay $125.
Farmers who miss registration are put on a waiting list for the next year. About two-thirds of academy participants are newcomers, Lyon said.
“They probably have a little time to think about it, but I wouldn’t think about it too long, or it will be filled up,” he said.