Conference Features Grower Interaction

PULLMAN, Wash. — Six Northwest farmers will share their accumulative 66 years’ direct seeding experience with farmers attending the 6th Northwest Direct Seed Cropping Systems Conference and Trade Show in Pasco, Wash., Jan. 8-10, 2003.

More than 800 growers and agricultural advisers are expected to attend, said Roger Veseth, Washington State University/University of Idaho extension conservation tillage specialist.

Four grower-speakers will discuss the transition to direct seed systems in the low, intermediate, and high precipitation zones, and under irrigation.

Neal Brown farms in a 12- to 14-inch precipitation zone east of Bickleton, Washington. He has been continuous direct seeding for the past 5 years and much of the farm has been in 2- pass minimum tillage system for the previous 15 years.

Daniel McKinley, general manager of Broughton Land Company, Dayton, Wash., farms land that ranges from 12 to 25 inches annual precipitation. Broughton Land has direct seeded for 12 years.

Kent Rad farms in a 20- to 25-inch precipitation zone near Cottonwood, Idaho. He has been developing a direct seeding system for the past 10 years and some of his farm has been under continuous direct seeding for five years.

Kurt Melville is a second generation direct seeder. He farms on his own and in partnership with his father, Tim, and brother, Kevin, near Enterprise, Oregon. Their farmland is in a 13- to 22-inch precipitation zone, but most is irrigated. Melville has been direct seeding for the past 12 years.

Grower insights and experiences on the topic of building direct seeding partnerships with landlords will be addressed by Steve Riggers and Mark Sheffels, Veseth said. Riggers farms with his brother, Nathan, in an 18- to 24-inch precipitation zone in the Craigmont and Nezperce area of north central Idaho. Much of their farm is cash rented. They have been direct seeding since 1982.

Sheffels farms in Washington in a 12- to 15-inch precipitation zone near Wilbur, Davenport and Reardan. He has been direct seeding all of his farmland for the past seven years, and leases cropland from three landlords outside of the family.

In addition to the six growers, other speakers will deal with the great debate on high versus low disturbance openers; stacked rotation and other pest management strategies; transition economics; crop marketing strategies for direct seeders; residue management; new weed control options, and managing for increased soil carbon and productivity.

The Conference is organized by the PNW STEEP program and the grower-driven PNW Direct Seed Association. STEEP stands for Solutions To Environmental and Economic Problems. It is a cooperative research and educational program on conservation tillage systems through the UI, WSU, Oregon State University, and USDA-Agricultural Research Service.

“The low $50 registration fee and $48 hotel registration make this exciting educational event particularly attractive in these tight economic times,” Veseth said.

The program will feature over 28 speakers from Idaho, Oregon, Washington, South Dakota and New Zealand.

Activities and accomplishments of Pacific Northwest Direct Seed Association will be highlighted. Veseth expects 10 drill company representatives will present new innovations in direct seed drills and openers.

The commercial Trade Show will feature the latest equipment, products and services for direct seed cropping systems.

For more information on the program and registration, visit the Conference Web site or contact the conference office, phone (509) 547-5538, FAX (509) 547-5563, or e-mail Wendy Peay at

A Sponsorship and Trade Show prospectus is also available on the Web site or from the Conference Office.

– 30 –