Direct Seed & Precision Farming Field Day Slated

PULLMAN, Wash. — The Second Direct Seed and Precision Farming Research Field Day will be Thursday, June 26, at Washington State University’s Cunningham Agronomy Farm near here.

The 140-acre farm is a new long-term research site managed since 1999 under continuous direct seeding with field-scale equipment. Research is focused on developing direct seed cropping systems and precision-agriculture technologies for a “typical” Palouse landscape.

More than 20 scientists are involved in the research, which is guided by a 12-member advisory committee of growers, scientists and representatives from agribusiness and agencies.

A 90-acre portion of the farm has been intensively grid sampled at 370 sites referenced to global positioning satellites for data on soil characteristics, soil nutrients, soil water content and crop use, weed seedbank, and soilborne pathogens.

The Cunningham farm is located north-east of Pullman. Take State Highway 27, then go 4.7 miles east on Whelan Road. Registration begins at 7:30 a.m., tours at 8 a.m.

Tour topics include:

  • Direct-seed systems, rotations, and crop health management, R. James Cook, WSU’s Endowed Chair in Wheat Research.
  • Management of soil nitrogen, and organic matter for grain yield and protein, Dave Huggins, USDA-Agricultural Research Service, Pullman.
  • Management of Rhizoctonia and Fusarium diseases in direct-seed systems. Tim Paulitz, USDA-Agriculture Research Service, Pullman.
  • Italian ryegrass: herbicide resistance and management. Joe Yenish, WSU integrated weed scientist, Pullman.
  • Understanding and managing the variability in emergence of wild oats, Robert Gallagher, WSU weed ecologist, and Eric Page, graduate student, Pullman.
  • Alternatives to stubble burning for residue and pest management, William Schillinger, WSU agronomist, Lind.
  • Soil depth, available water and yield potential, Bruce Frazier, WSU soil scientist and Armen Kemanian, a WSU biological systems engineering graduate student.

A hosted lunch will be provided at noon. Dick Wittman, president, Pacific Northwest Direct Seed Association, will be speak at the luncheon.

Reports also will be made by Jim Zuiches, dean, WSU College of Agriculture and Home Economics; Don McCool, research leader, USDA- ARS Land Management and Water Conservation Research Unit, Pullman; and representatives of the U.S. Dry Pea and Lentil Council; Washington Wheat Commission; Washington Canola/Rape Seed Commission; and a representative of the Washington Barley Commission.

For more information, contact Debbie Marsh, (509) 335-2915, e-mail

– 30 –