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New downy brome treatment, triticale in Lind spotlight

Washington State University's Lind Field Day May 12 will include presentations on a new bioherbicide for downy brome and late-planted triticale as an alternative crop. Professor Bill Schillinger says moisture levels are a big concern for dryland farmers.
Matthew Weaver

Capital Press

Published on June 3, 2014 9:25AM

Washington State University’s Lind Field Day June 12 will include presentations on a new bioherbicide for downy brome and late-planted triticale as an alternative crop.

USDA Agricultural Research Service soil scientist Ann Kennedy is working to obtain approval for a bioherbicide for downy brome, a persistent weed problem. Kennedy identified a bacteria that suppresses downy brome cheatgrass and jointed goatgrass but does not affect wheat or other crop species, said Bill Schillinger, director at the station.

The bacteria multiplies and control improves over several years, Schillinger said.

“It looks like it will be a fairly cheap application, less than $10 per acre,” he said. “The potential market is huge.”

Schillinger will also talk about successes with late-planted winter triticale. The alternative grain crop is producing the same level of grain biomass production as early-planted winter wheat.

“You get a bigger yield hit planting late-planted wheat than you will with late-planted winter triticale,” Schillinger said.

Triticale is easily marketed at grain cooperatives, and produces stubble desired by conservation-minded farmers. The Lind station will devote two 5-acre parcels for long-term triticale production and research.

Late-planted triticale is useful to farmers during the years when there’s not a lot of moisture, Schillinger said. It survives the winter, and grows during the spring.

The field day will begin at 8:30 a.m. at WSU’s dryland research station in Lind, Wash.

Moisture is an issue on two levels for farmers in the region, Schillinger said.

“It’s really, really dry — what’s it going to do to our wheat?” he asked, noting the winter was dry and March and April precipitation was average. The station is down by 2.72 inches of precipitation through the end of May compared to the long-term average, Schillinger said.

Another big question is whether there will be enough moisture for early seeding in late August or early September, Schillinger said.

Other items on the field day schedule include wheat breeding updates, herbicide control of Russian thistle, drought stress tolerance, new Clearfield wheat varieties and presentations by WSU and Washington Grain Commission officials and Washington Sen. Mark Schoesler.




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