By MATTHEW WEAVER
Washington wheat farmers have the chance to sign up for free "university" classes.
Wheat University, presented by the Washington Association of Wheat Growers in cooperation with Washington State University, will begin at 9 a.m. May 8 at WSU's Lind Dryland Research Station in Lind.
The program will focus on micronutrients, soil profiles and tillage.
"What's going on below the surface is as important or more important than what's going on above the surface," said Ryan Kregger, WAWG president and Touchet, Wash., wheat farmer. "Everybody says, 'It's drought stress,' but there's also deficiencies that look like drought stress."
Coaches from Agri-Trend, an independent network of experts, will participate in the program. Topics include the best plant density, methods to reduce nitrous oxide emissions and a 10-step soil interpretation process.
Kregger said Agri-Trend speakers rated the highest at last year's Tri-State Grain Growers Convention.
The program also includes a presentation on herbicide resistance and the need for integrated weed management by Drew Lyon, WSU's endowed chair in small grains extension and research for weed science.
Information from the presentations will be available on portable "thumb drives" for farmers to take home, Kregger said.
The initial plan is to rotate locations among Lind, Walla Walla, Colfax and Davenport. Scheduling would depend on the heading time for wheat plants in a particular geographic location.
Kregger said the event is offered in the spring so the program can include field presentations.
"A lot of people learn by, 'Hey, this is what it really looks like' out in the field," he said. "Having that three-dimensional, out in the field, with your hands on the plant, I learn a lot better that way than I do staring up at a screen."
Sign-ups must take place by April 26 to the WAWG office at 509-659-0610. The first 100 to sign up will receive a free 2.5-gallon container of RoundUp, sponsored by the McGregor Co., Wilbur-Ellis and NuChem. Random drawings will be held for 1-gallon containers of Tilt, sponsored by Syngenta.
The event is sponsored by the Washington Grain Commission.
Washington Grain Commission: www.wawg.org