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Farmers to See No-Till at Ralston Field Day

PULLMAN, Wash. — Feasibility of no-till in annual spring cropping in the Northwest crop-fallow region will be discussed at the Ralston Project Field Day, June 7.

The program features results from the first four years of a five-year study in an 11-inch annual rainfall zone south of Ritzville, Wash. The first phase of the research trial has been evaluating four cropping systems: soft white winter wheat/fallow under reduced tillage; soft white spring wheat/no-till fallow; continuous no-till hard red spring wheat; and no-till hard red spring wheat alternating with spring barley.

In addition to the main trial, the project has included a series of complimentary satellite studies investigating fertility, variety selection, alternate crops, seeding rates and related agronomic practices.

Current best management practices are being utilized on the site with no-till and reduced tillage practices applied whenever possible.

The second phase will begin this fall with new crops, crop rotations and management trials. Phase II will focus on integrating management and genetics for the improvement of no-till spring crops in the winter wheat fallow region.

The Ralston Field Day program will highlight three crop rotation systems that have been the most successful during the first 4 years of the study. They are:

  • Soft white winter wheat/fallow under reduced tillage
  • No-till hard red spring wheat/spring barley
  • Continuous no-till hard red spring wheat.

Presentations will focus on integrated management systems within each rotation, highlighting crop varieties; fertility management; soil water storage; insect, disease and weed management; tillage and residue management; economics and soil biology/soil quality.

A spring triticale trial and a discussion of new cropping systems treatments planned for Phase II also are on the program.

The project covers more than 20 acres and involves 14 scientists from various disciplines and agencies. Funding comes from the Washington Wheat Commission; USDA-Agricultural Research Service; Washington Department of Ecology, and two grant programs from USDA-Cooperative States Research, Extension and Education Service.

Some project equipment, supplies and materials have been donated by The McGregor Co., Connell Grain Growers, and Monsanto.

The project site is south of the small town of Ralston. From Ritzville, go 13 miles south on Highway 261 and three miles west on Providence Road. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. The field tour will be from 9:00 a.m to 12:30 p.m. A no-host lunch will be catered by Longhorn Barbecue.

Credits for pesticide applicator recertification and certified crop adviser continuing education have been requested.

For more information, contact Cindy Warriner at the WSU Cooperative Extension office in Ritzville, (509) 659-3214, FAX (509) 659-3303 or e-mail warriner@wsu.edu.

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