Hay growers in northeastern Washington will look over critical issues during the Northeast Washington Hay Growers Association field day May 14 in Springdale, Wash.
Joe Olmstead, president of the association, said the tour highlights some farmers' practices so others can determine what might work for their own operations.
The program includes an overview of the types of hay produced in the area, fertility management and pest concerns, including alfalfa weevil.
Tom Platt, extension educator with Washington State University Extension in Davenport, said there are concerns about buyer acceptance of Roundup Ready alfalfa and production management issues.
Despite strong interest, there are also concerns about glyphosate-tolerant weeds, Olmstead said.
"There's also the concern that it's one of the most valuable tools hay growers may have for producing the quality our customers are asking for," he said, pointing to higher costs and toxicity levels of alternative chemicals.
Planting projections call for less hay acreage this year than last. Olmstead attributed this to higher prices for alternative crops like corn and wheat.
In the northeast region, corn and wheat don't provide too much competition, Olmstead said. He doesn't foresee much change to other crops, compared to the Columbia Basin in the central part of the state. The two markets don't interact much, he said.
Olmstead expects roughly 70 people to participate.
The annual field day will begin at 8 a.m. at farms owned by Wes McCart and Jim Scott west of Springdale. The event begins at the Scott operation at the intersection of Lyons Hill Road and the Springdale-Hunters Highway 6 miles west of Springdale.
Credits for pesticide applicator recertification are available with the Roundup Ready alfalfa and weevil discussions.
For more information, call WSU Lincoln County Extension at 509-725-4171.
-- Matthew Weaver