Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Introducing Olga Walsh and other new University of Idaho faculty

Olga Walsh
Dr. Olga Walsh’s fascination with soil science began even before her undergraduate days at St. Petersburg State University, the oldest university in Russia. She earned a BS in Soil Chemistry there in 1997, followed by study in the United States. Her MS (2007) and PhD (2009) in Soil Science come from Oklahoma State University, where her research focused on soil fertility and nutrient management. In her new capacity as Research Assistant Professor of Cropping Systems Agronomy at UI’s Parma Research Center, she’s now applying her knowledge and skills to help Idaho growers improve the quantity and quality of their crops through precision agriculture, remote sensing tools, and other beneficial technologies. Her goal is to aid growers in making site-specific management plans that increase nutrient use efficiency and minimize negative soil impacts. Prior to her arrival in Parma in 2014, Dr. Walsh served as an Assistant Professor of Soil Fertility and Nutrient Management at Montana State University’s Western Triangle Agricultural Research Center in Conrad, MT. Today, Olga’s work in Parma focuses on the development of sustainable, environmentally sound crop management, and also encompasses agricultural education and extension programs. Olga is enthusiastic about research and teaching and adds, “I look forward to serving the needs of agricultural clientele across the state of Idaho.” On a personal note, Olga lives in the Nampa/Caldwell area with her husband Stephen and their three children: Willow (14), William (6), and Vivienne (4).
Please view the latest issue of Idaho Grain Magazine here.
To view archived articles of Idaho Grain Magazine - follow this link.


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Pacific Northwest Pest Alert Network

Photo credit: Sean Ellis/Capital Press. University of Idaho Extension Educator Jerry Neufeld helped create the Pacific Northwest Pest Alert Network, which notifies growers about pest and disease outbreaks by e-mail. Neufeld and other UI and Oregon State University researchers maintain the network, which has 1,200 subscribers.

The mission of the Pacific Northwest Pest Alert Network website is to increase crop protection related communications and improve management decisions by fieldmen and growers when pest outbreaks occur. This website will be used as a communication tool to deliver accurate and timely pest outbreak information to the agriculture industry. We will also provide links to control information for pests identified in pest alert news items. The benefits of increased communication will provide for more judicious use of pesticides, reduced crop losses, and overall improved pest management.
To read article by Sean Ellis (Capital Press) click here.


Grower Question - European Intensive Management for High-Yielding Wheat

A Middleton, ID grower had inquired about a possibility of adopting European wheat management practices for improved efficiency of production and utilized in areas of very high wheat yield potential.

Here are summarized results from "Intensive Wheat Management Evaluation" in Illinois
by Tom Doerge
Agronomy Research Scientist
The primary objectives of this study were to evaluate intensive wheat management with respect to 1) overall profitability and 2) the relative importance of the various crop inputs that comprise this management system.
Evaluated factors:
Planting depth, Seeding rate, Drill calibration, Fall fertilizer, Spring N fertilizer, Insecticide, Herbicide, Fungicide
Results1. Does intensive management of wheat increase grain yield?
Yes. Based on the research from 2002 and 2003, intensive wheat management strategies increased grain yield by an average of 19 and 12 bu/ac compared with the low and medium level of wheat management.
2. Did all wheat varieties respond similarly to the intensive wheat management practices?
The size of yield increase was influenced by wheat variety, location and year.
3. Were fungicide applications necessary for management
of wheat diseases?

Fungicide (Headline®) applications reduced Septoria leaf and glume blotch, tan spot, and leaf and stripe rust but not head scab (Fusarium head blight). In general, selecting
wheat varieties with host resistance/tolerance in combination with fungicide application was the most effective control for common wheat diseases.
4. Were insecticide applications beneficial?
All of the research trials required the application of a foliar insecticide (Warrior®) for control of aphid populations. Insecticide applications reduced both damage from aphid feeding and from the aphid-vectored barley yellow dwarf virus (BYDV).
5. Did the various management inputs influence grain
The management practices studied had no significant effect on test weight, kernel protein content, kernel weight, or falling numbers.

6. What input impacted grain yield the most?
In general, the factor most influencing yield was insecticide application. The second most influential factor was wheat variety.
7. What input provided the greatest and most consistent economic returns?
 The profitability of a fungicide application varied by year and split N treatments were only profitable when the cost of application was low.
8. Does intensive wheat management create greater profits?
The cost of implementing intensive wheat management strategies ranged from $30 to 40/ac. Given the average yield increase of 12 bu/ac for those studies, a grower would need to sell wheat at $3.33/bu or higher to be profitable.

®Headline is a registered trademark of BASF.
®Warrior is a registered trademark of Syngenta.

Photo credit: Phil Needham
An excellent and uniform stand of wheat is the first step in improving wheat yields. Timely fungicide applications are most effective with a uniform crop. Fargo, ND.

Improving stand uniformity, utilization of tram lines, and proper timing of inputs are listed as the key points to be followed for successful implementation of intensive management in wheat.

Tram lines:  unseeded strips placed within wheat fields at seeding time that allow row-crop spraying equipment to make passes through the fields without running over the wheat.

First Report of Barley Yellow Dwarf Virus Infection, Nampa, southwest ID

Yesterday, March 17th, a crop consultant brought in winter wheat samples from a field in Nampa, ID, with the symptoms of the Barley Yellow Dwarf Virus infection.

The symptoms include:
  • "Yellowing and/or reddening of leaves starting at the leaf tip and moving toward the base and inward from the margins"
  • "The affected  plants exhibit stunting of both foliar and root tissues"
The description of the symptoms is taken from the University of Idaho publication - "Barley Yellow Dwarf Virus in Idaho Cereal Crops".

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Barley Yellow Dwarf Virus in Idaho Cereal Crops

As reported by Dr. Juliet Marshall, University of Idaho,  Extension Crop Management Specialist
Associate Professor, Cereal Cropping Systems Agronomist and Cereal Pathologist, 

"Barley Yellow Dwarf is widespread in winter planted cereals. It is being reported in winter barley, winter wheat, triticale, and in grasses along the roadside or field edges".

The complete report will be published shortly, after the team  has traveled the state and collected and evaluated samples.
For more information of the Barley Yellow Dwarf, please refer to this PUBLICATION ("Barley Yellow Dwarf Virus in Idaho Cereal Crops", by Juliet marshall and Arash Rashed)

Monday, March 16, 2015

2015 - International Year of Soils

Conservation agriculture practices have
significantly improved soil conditions, reduced land
degradation and boosted yields in many parts of
the world by following three principles: minimal
soil disturbance, permanent soil cover and crop
rotations. To be sustainable in the long term, the loss
of organic matter in any agricultural system must
never exceed the rate of soil formation. In most
agro-ecosystems, that is not possible if the soil is
mechanically disturbed. Therefore, one of the tenets
of conservation agriculture is limiting the use of
mechanical soil disturbance, or tilling, in the
farming process.
Zero tillage is one of a set of techniques used in
conservation agriculture. Essentially, it maintains a
permanent or semi-permanent organic soil cover
(e.g. a growing crop or dead mulch) that protects the
soil from sun, rain and wind and allows soil microorganisms
and fauna to take on the task of “tilling”
and soil nutrient balancing - natural processes that
are disturbed by mechanical tillage.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Unmanned Aerial Systems


The Unmanned Aerial Systems conference powered by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International will be held in Atlanta, GA, May 4-7, 2015.

  Read the article by Matthew J, Grassi, PrecisionAg (Assistant Editor for the CropLife Media Group, including CropLife and CropLife IRON magazines and the PrecisionAg Special Reports) on Robert Blair's achievement - "First Ag Drone Company Garners FAA Approval".

Link to Robert Blair interview (January 2014) on Unmanned Aerial Systems: "Pirker Reversal, FAA Bungling: Where We Are Today With Drones In Ag"

Reference Strips and Precision Sensors for Nitrogen Management

Olga Walsh, PhD, University of Idaho, Cropping Systems Research and Extension program, Parma Research & Extension Center, Parma, Idaho, Reference Strips and Precision Sensors for Nitrogen Management presentation at Boise Precision Agriculture Seminar, February 24, 2015.

Optical Sensing for Nitrogen Management

University of Idaho Cropping Systems Research and Extension program, Parma Research & Extension Center, Parma, Idaho, thanks Ms. Sulochana Dhital, PhD graduate student with the Oklahoma State University's Soil Fertility group lead by Dr. Bill Raun for her recent presentation on Optical Sensing for Nitrogen Management at the Boise Precision Agriculture Seminar, February 24, 2015.

Research technician position open at UI Parma R&E center!


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Western Nutrient Digest, Spring 2015.

This publication is being published as part of the Western Nutrient Management and Water Quality WERA 103 (Western Education/Extension and Research Activities) group.
Previous issues: Summer 2014 ; Spring 2014; Fall 2013; Summer 2013; Spring 2013; Winter 2013; Fall 2012; Fall 2011


Cutting-edge technology boosts precision

Sean Ellis/Capital Press University of Idaho cropping systems agronomist Olga Walsh uses a pocket sensor to measure crop reflectance in a winter wheat field at UI's Parma research center Feb. 27. Walsh is studying the use of cutting edge methodologies to help farmers improve water and nutrient use efficiency.

Read the full article HERE.