Idaho cereal schools scheduled in February
By John O’Connell
Grain farmers attending upcoming cereal schools in southern and eastern Idaho will get a first-hand look at a project aiming to replace Australian wheat with American blends for making cookies, crackers and biscuits.
University of Idaho Extension will host schools with similar itineraries on Feb. 4 in Burley, on Feb. 5 in Pocatello, on Feb. 6 in Idaho Falls and Ashton and on Feb. 7 in Preston. Different programming will be offered at northern Idaho schools in Green Creek on Feb. 11, Lewiston on Feb. 12 and Bonners Ferry on Feb. 13.
David Shelton, executive director of the Wheat Marketing Center in Portland, Ore., will update growers at the southern and eastern Idaho schools on his center’s new pilot-scale cookie, cracker and biscuit line. Shelton will also bring cookie samples for them to try. The program — funded by growers in Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Montana and North Dakota — bakes products for testing end-use qualities of U.S. flour blends. Shelton explained the intent is to find U.S. wheat blends that closely match Australian blends trade partners are using to entice them to switch to American wheat.
The southern and eastern Idaho schools will start at 8:30 a.m. and last until 3:30 p.m. A $15 admission fee will be charged to cover the cost of lunch, and door prizes will be awarded.
UI Extension cereals pathologist Juliet Marshall said growers can get three pesticide re-certification credits.
“We always go over the latest disease and insect problems,” said Marshall, who is slated as a speaker.
She said Fusarium headblight is a hot issue and a “substantial issue in wheat production.” The schools will also cover results of extension variety trials and new variety releases by private and public breeding programs. Each school may cover slightly different pest and disease topics based on local challenges. Other topics include: weed control, commission reports, best management practices and cover crops following grain.
No fee will be charged for northern Idaho schools, which will include lunch and are scheduled for 8 a.m. through 1:30 p.m.
Ken Hart, UI Extension educator for Lewis County, said growers planning to attend his area’s schools are interested in hearing results of new UI research on lime application in cereals and direct seeding of cover crops.
The Idaho Barley Commission, Idaho Wheat Commission and Idaho Grain Producers Association also helped organize the schools.