Local HRS Wheat Seed Will Be Limited

A Little Bit Country


Longtime durum growers contemplating adding hard red spring wheat to their crop rotation could be surprised and a little over-whelmed by the long list of varieties to select from. In fact, yield trials of North Dakota State University have included close to 50 varieties. Besides those developed at NDSU and the state universities of Montana, South Dakota, and Minnesota many of the varieties hail from private industry.

Many of the varieties have a fit for the drier climate of western North Dakota but the final varietal choice may just come to seed availability and location. The North Dakota State Seed Department is the government entity in charge of making sure growers can purchase quality crop seed with confidence.

The first step of seed certification is for the department to inspect the field while the crop is growing. This initial inspection provides us the first glimpse of who might have conditioned seed which has passed the final certification phase sometime during the winter months. Although the seed department has not released its printed version of fields passing the summer inspections, the list of fields and growers by crops and varieties can be found at http://www.nd.gov/seed/field_directory.

The seed department reports 102,975 HRS wheat acres passed its summer inspections but only a few acres were located in Divide, Williams, and McKenzie counties. Many of the inspected HRS wheat acres were those of the Williston Research Extension Center. However, I did notice other names of seed growers from this three county area including Carlyle Norly, Grenora; Wisness Seed Farm, Arnegard; Troy Kupper and Don Pederson, both of Ray; Robert and Larry Kostek, Crosby; and Nevin Dahl, Watford City.

The Williston Research Extension Center has primarily seed of the foundation grade while seed of above listed individual growers will be eligible for either the registered or certified grades.

Winter Raspberry Management Tip

One of the interesting aspects about my job is the diversity of questions received from the public. As a result, I have learned way more than I ever dreamed of. Take for example the management of raspberry plants. I have never planted or watered a raspberry plant in my life but this fall I have received a couple questions about their care in preparation for the cold winter months known to this area.

When it comes to answering some of the first time questions I turned to our specialists and researchers at NDSU. In the case of raspberries, Ron Smith, longtime Extension Horticulturalist on the NDSU campus, is on speed dial.

To prepare raspberry plants for the winter Ron suggests bending the canes over and throwing a shovel of soil on the cane to hold it down on the ground. The bent over canes should then trap snow, which gives good protection from the cold temperatures. He says this usually results in less winter killing and better fruiting the following summer.

He also gave me a tip on growing season management. That is to remove all canes after they have finished fruiting. Canes of raspberries live only two years. The first year each cane grows as a shoot starting from the root. The second year canes bear fruit and then die. Even though the second year cane is dying, it still competes for moisture and nutrients and possibly harbors insects and diseases.

I hope these tips are useful to those of you who are new to preparation of raspberries. Give me a call if you have a surplus of berries next summer.


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