10 Growers to Share Direct-Seed Experience

PULLMAN, Wash. — Farmers and farm advisors attending the 2002 Northwest Direct Seed Cropping Systems Conference, Jan. 16-18, in Spokane, will hear first-hand accounts from 10 Northwest growers who are using direct seed systems.

Roger Veseth, conference chair and Washington State University-University of Idaho Cooperative Extension conservation tillage specialist, said he expects about 700 growers and agricultural advisors to attend. The conference will be at the Doubletree Hotel – City Center. Registration includes entrance into Spokane Ag Expo and Pacific Northwest Farm Forum.

Farmers on the program are:

  • Lon Welch, Connell, Wash., and Jack Hay, The Dalles, Ore., will talk about direct seed operations in low precipitation zones. Welch has direct-seeded wheat and barley for four years in the 7- to 8-inch annual precipitation area near Connell and Kahlotus. Hay has direct seeded wheat and barley for six years in the 12-inch precipitation zone near The Dalles.
  • Mark Sheffels, Wilbur, Wash., and Mike Stubbs, LaCrosse, Wash., will talk about direct seeding in intermediate precipitation zones. Sheffels has direct seeded wheat and barley on all his farmland for the past six years. His operation is west of Wilbur, Wash in a 12-inch precipitation zone and between Davenport and Reardan in a 15-inch precipitation area. Stubbs has been developing a direct-seed operation over the last six years. He grows spring wheat and barley, yellow mustard, chickpeas and safflower in the 15- to 17-inch precipitation area west of Colfax.
  • Art Schultheis, Colton, Wash., and Kurt Blume, Genesee, Idaho, will address direct seeding in high precipitation zones. Schultheis began direct seeding 24 years ago and has had some acreage under continuous direct seeding for 16 years. He farms west of Colton in the 18- to 21-inch precipitation zone. He grows winter and spring wheat, spring barley, dry peas and lentils, bluegrass seed and billy beans. Blume farms southwest of Genesee in the same precipitation zone. He has four years’ experience with direct seeding in wheat, barley, grass seed, peas, lentils, garbanzos, Brassica crops and oats.
  • Jon Nilsson, Pomeroy, Wash., and Clay Barr, Cavandish, Idaho, will discuss two-pass direct fertilizer and seed systems with minimum tillage drills. Nilsson has been developing direct fertilizer and seed systems over the past four years on land he farms near Moscow, Genesee and Kendrick, Idaho. His land lies in all three precipitation zones. Crops include wheat, garbanzos, lentils, barley, Canola, mustard, oats, peas and bluegrass. Barr farms three locations in Garfield County’s 14- to 19-inch precipitation zone. He has been developing his system for eight years. He grows winter and spring soft wheat and spring barley.
  • Dick Wittman, Culdesac, and Nathan Riggers, Nezperce, Idaho, will talk about field records, mapping strategies and integration of physical farm data. Wittman has 16 years of experience in direct seeding with wheat, barley, peas, lentils, canola, garbanzo beans and hay. Wittman also is a farm financial management consultant and is a former employee of the Federal Intermediate Credit Bank in Spokane and of the Farm Credit Administration in Washington D.C. Riggers and his brother, Steve, farm on the Camas Prairie between Nezperce and Craigmont, in the 25-inch precipitation zone. They have 15 years experience with direct seeding. They grow winter wheat, Kentucky bluegrass, spring wheat, malt and feed barley, peas, lentils and canola.

The program will feature 12 other speakers, including scientists from Washington, Idaho, Oregon, and Canada. The conference is sponsored by Pacific Northwest STEEP, a research and educational program on conservation tillage systems, and by the Pacific Northwest Direct Seed Association.

More information is available on a Web site at, http://pnwsteep.wsu.edu/directseed, or by calling the Conference office at (509) 547-5538, or by e-mailing Wendy Peay at wpeay@mcmgt.com. You may register on the Web site. After January 9, regular registration increases from $60 to $70 and spouse registration from $30 to $35.

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