Grain commissions weigh research project funding
By MATTHEW WEAVER
Northwest grain commissions will meet next week to consider funding for research.
The Washington Grain Commission holds its two-day research review beginning starting at 10 a.m. Feb. 19 at the Holiday Inn Express in Pullman.
The Oregon Wheat Commission will meet at 8 a.m. Feb. 19 in Kidder Hall Room 202 on the Oregon State University campus in Corvallis.
The Idaho Wheat Commission review starts at 8 a.m. Feb. 21 at its office in Boise.
Washington commission program director Mary Palmer Sullivan highlighted new research into increased soil acidity due to aluminum toxicity in the area around Tekoa and Fairfield. Washington State University spring wheat breeder Mike Pumphrey has been evaluating varieties for tolerance.
"One of the things he said to me was, 'It's not a matter of 'if,' it's a matter of 'when' all growers in our state are going to get this,'" Sullivan said. "It may not seem relevant to some now, but I think three or four years down the road there may be some more growers that are talking about it."
Some growers in the Midwest have treated their fields with limestone, while the concept is still under development in the Northwest, Sullivan said.
New Idaho research projects include the long-term impacts of manure application on wheat and other crop production, by Amber Moore, University of Idaho Extension soil specialist based at the research station in Kimberly.
"That's a very exciting proposal because it is taking a very integrated approach," Cathy Wilson, director of research collaboration for the Idaho commission. She said the project would document the effect of manure as a fertilizer application for eight years.
UI Extension Pesticide Program Coordinator Rhonda Hirnyck is looking for funding to continue work on an online tool to help growers keep their pesticide application records in one place and print out appropriate forms if audited or required by the state.
The Idaho review will also include an update on UI's continuing collaboration with Limagrain, Wilson said.
Tana Simpson, associate administrator of the Oregon Wheat Commission, said her organization has funded projects related to stripe rust and other disease issues over the last few years.
They're looking to expand into doubled haploid research to accelerate Oregon's breeding programs, she said.
The three commissions place an emphasis on feedback from growers.
Simpson said the research review will enable growers to provide feedback and ask questions online.
Any grower who pays an assessment and attends the Washington review has the opportunity to prioritize projects, calculated with other factors when the commission considers funding allocations, Sullivan said.
"If there's problems out there, we want to know about it," she said. "Ultimately, it's the researchers who study the problems, but if the growers come up with it, that's even more valuable -- we can help resolve it and make them more profitable."
Idaho Wheat Commission: www.idahowheat.org
Oregon Wheat: www.owgl.org
Oregon research review live stream: http://live.oregonstate.edu
Washington Wheat Commission: www.wawg.org