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WSU field tours highlight winter wheat injury

Matthew Weaver

Capital Press

Winter injury will take center stage during the Washington State University crop tour schedule this summer. Farmers are encouraged to attend the various field days to see how wheat varieties held up against the cold, WSU Extension agronomist Stephen Guy says.

Eastern Washington farmers should pay close to attention to which wheat varieties survived the winter during Washington State University’s upcoming field tour season, which begins May 21.

Many growers faced winter injury to their crops, said Stephen Guy, a Washington State University Extension specialist.

“It’s impacted quite a few acres out there,” he said. “It’s impacted a number of our trials as well.”

The winter weather impacted WSU’s St. Andrews, Wash., trial to the degree that it won’t be utilized, he said. Rain and crusting hurt emergence after deep furrow planting, and winterkill impacted the stand.

“It’s made a trial we’re not going to harvest,” Guy said. 

Guy still hopes to have a field day in that location.

“We can certainly talk about what happened there and past results,” he said. “As far as showing things in the field are concerned, it’s probably not going to work very much for us.”

Most winter injury occurred in the northern part of the region, including trials in Moses Lake, Wash., Reardan, Wash.,  and Harrington, Wash.

Poor emergence meant trials in Connell, Wash., had to be replanted.

“We’ve had an interesting year,” Guy said with a wry chuckle.

Farmers will want to avoid those varieties that didn’t fare well, Guy said.

“Not only do you lose the planting costs of the fall, but you lose the opportunity to raise winter wheat versus raising a spring wheat, which is going to be a big difference in yield as well,” he said.

There can be difficulties in replacing damaged hard red winter wheat, since hard red spring wheat is a different class, and mixing the two means the wheat would be downgraded as a mixed class, meaning a price loss.

WSU’s spring trials are nearly done planting, Guy said. The winter trials that survived weather and emergence also look good, he said.

The crop tours feature new varieties from WSU, Oregon State University and private companies. Results of the trials will help target where varieties should be grown.

“Nobody wants to sell something that isn’t going to survive the winter in that particular area,” he said.

Guy hopes to present the best information possible to growers as they make decisions about what to plant.

WSU offers a new online tool to help growers decide which varieties to plant for their area. Guy encourages farmers to plant more than one variety.

“With the advent of all these new varieties, I think it’s really important for growers to examine what they’re planting now and see if there isn’t an opportunity to find varieties that are even better,” Guy said. “They provide a lot of good opportunity for increasing yield.”





WSU crop tour schedule

Columbia County Conservation Tour

9 a.m., May 21

Contact: Paul Carter 509-382-4741

Horse Heaven

8:30 a.m., June 3

Contact: Wayne Thompson 509-240-5018

Ritzville, Wash.

1 p.m., June 4

Contact: Aaron Esser 509-660-0566

Ag Tech Demo Day — University of Idaho Parker Farm

8 a.m., June 5

Contact: Kristy Borrelli, 208-885-1220

Western Whitman County — Lacrosse, Wash.

8 a.m., June 5

Contact: Steve Van Vleet, 509-397-6290

Connell, Wash.

4 p.m., June 5

Contact: Wayne Thompson 509-240-5018

Oregon State University Pendleton, Ore. Field Day

8:30 a.m., June 10

Contact: Stephen Machado, 541-278-4416

Oregon State University Moro, Ore., Field Day

8:30 a.m. June 11

Contact: Stephen Machado, 541-278-4416

Harrington, Wash.

4 p.m., June 11

Contact: Diana Roberts 509-477-2167

Lind, Wash., Field Day

8:30 a.m., June 12

Contact: Bill Schillinger 509-235-1933

St. Andrews, Wash.

5 p.m., June 13

Contact: Dale Whaley, 509-745-8531

Fairfield, Wash.

7 a.m., June 17

Contact: Diana Roberts, 509-477-2167

Moses Lake, Wash. (irrigated)

8 a.m., June 18

Contact: Andy McGuire, 509-754-2011

WSU Weed Science, Pullman, Wash.

1 p.m., June 18

Contact: Ian Burke 509-335-2858

Almira, Wash.

3 p.m., June 18

Contact: Diana Roberts 409-477-2167

Mayview, Wash.

9 a.m., June 19

Contact: Mark Heitstuman 509-243-2009

Anatone, Wash.

3:30 p.m., June 19

Contact: Mark Heitstuman 509-243-2009

Wilke Farm Tour, Davenport, Wash

farming practices 8 .a.m., June 24

public interest TBD June 25

Contact: Aaron Esser 509-660-0566

Reardan, Wash.

8 a.m., June 25

Contact: Diana Roberts,509-477-2167

Walla Walla, Wash.

peas, lentils, chickpeas 3 p.m., June 25

wheat 6:30 p.m., June 25

Contact: Wayne Thompson, 509-240-5018

WSU Diagnostic Clinic on Spillman Farms in Pullman, Wash. — space limited to 60 participants

8 a.m., June 26

Contact: Steve Van Vleet 509-397-6290

Dayton, Wash.

9 a.m. June 26

Contact: Paul Carter 509-382-4741

Bickelton, Wash.

3 p.m., June 26

Contact: Todd Murray 509-773-5817

Organic Grain Field Day, Boyd Farm

8 a.m., July 9

Contact: Ian Burke 509-335-2858

Whitman County Spillman tour

3 p.m., July 11

Contact: Steve Van Vleet 509-397-6290

Farmington, Wash.

9:30 a.m., July 16

Contact: Steve Van Vleet 509-397-6290

St. John, Wash.

2 p.m., July 16

Contact: Steve Van Vleet 509-397-6290

Lamont, Wash.

5 p.m., July 16

Contact: Steve Van Vleet 509-397-6290


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