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Organic Dryland Grain Field Day June 15

PULLMAN, Wash. — Organic dryland grain production in the Pacific Northwest will be the focus of Washington State University’s third annual Organic Dryland Grain Crop Field Day on Wednesday, June 15.

This year’s field day features a progress report on current field studies at the farm of Les and Pat Boyd, located just north of the Moscow-Pullman Airport at 3801 Airport Road. Registration begins at 8:30, and organic fruit and pastries from the Moscow Food Co-op will be provided.

In 2003, a study was initiated with funding from the USDA to determine the optimal production system for making the transition into certified organic grain production. In 2004, the Boyd farm featured an organic wheat breeding project, and green manure and mechanical weed management studies were initiated. In 2005, new studies are evaluating control of Rhizoctonia root rot. Native wildflowers, which serve as an insect refuge, have been planted around the farm to attract weed seed predators.

Field day topics include:

  • Evaluation of nine crop rotation systems as potential methods for facilitating the transition from conventional to organic grain production;
  • Various mechanical weed management and conservation tillage techniques;
  • Winter legumes as green manure cover crops;
  • Spring pea variety screening for organic grain production;
  • Seeding rates of hairy vetch as a green manure;
  • Preliminary study of the effects of rotary harrow and rotary hoe surface cultivation on the impact of Rhizoctonia root disease and weed seed bank depletion in spring wheat;
  • Pea residue and nitrogen fertilizer rates on hard red spring wheat for organic bread and pastry production;
  • Preliminary study of Palouse prairie plantings for weed suppression and beneficial insect conservation along farm margins; and
  • Integrated weed management techniques that promote beneficial insect communities.

More information about the field day is available by contacting Dennis Pittmann or Amanda Snyder at (509) 335-7484 or by e-mailing pittmann@wsu.edu or akoss@wsu.edu.

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