The Roundup -

WREC's Dry Land Field Day Covered a Variety of Topics for Farmers & Home Gardeners


Dr. Gautam Pradhan talks about the benefits of buying certified seed with the crowd.

The weather was beautiful and the turnout was good for the Williston Research and Extension Center Dry Land Field Day, July 14th. Dr. Rich Horsley started off the day, discussing what buyers are looking for when it comes to barley. He noted that there is a lot of interest in two row barley and discussed Americans' interest in craft beers; while craft brewers only make up about 10% of the market, they purchase about 25% of barley yield due to brewing with straight barley rather than mixing with other grains as larger companies do.

Plant pathologist Audrey Kalil introduced herself as a new staff member at WREC and reviewed different wheat diseases as well as discussing North Dakota's Integrated Pest Management (IPM) scouting program. This program is unique to the state and consists of summer employees scouting fields and reporting their findings, which are available at She also discussed her interest in researching how beneficial soil microbes can reduce crop diseases in diverse crop rotations.

The long-term Cropping Sequence Study was introduced by Dr. Don Tanaka. Tanaka described how his previous work in no-till research showed that while there is a transition phase when going from tilled to no-till systems in which yields may be lower, the long-term quality of the soil improves and is better able to supply crops with water and nutrients.

WREC agronomist Dr. Gautam Pradhan shared results from dry land testing and research on pulse crops, talked about new varieties of peas that are going to be released, and buying certified seed. While many farmers save money by saving part of their seeds from each crop for planting the next season, Pradhan reminded attendants that buying certified 'clean' seed helps maintain crop quality.

Drs. Rich Zollinger, Kirk Howatt, and Brian Jenks discussed the importance of fall weed control in regards to winter annual weed management and spent some time focusing on Narrow Leaf Hawk's Beard (also known as False Dandelion) and Horseweed (also called Marestail). Both are relatively new weeds to the area and are becoming a growing concern.

An experiment investigating different crop rotations for reclaiming soil affected by pipeline installation and road compaction was discussed by Austin Link and Chris Augustine.

Ag engineer John Nowatzki presented information on the importance of selecting nozzles that would reduce herbicide drift. The most effective way to reduce drift is to use nozzles that produce course (big) droplets rather than fine (small) droplets.

The Horticulture Tour speakers Kyla Splichal and Tom Kalb covered growing a variety of garden vegetables and flowers, highlighting varieties that do well in our area as well as lawn care and maintenance.

A new feature for the Dry Land Field Day was the Stump the Plant Doctors booth; Kalil, Splichal, and Dr. Clair Keene with WREC had several people stop by their booth with questions about tree and flower diseases and weed control. They were pleased that many attendees brought samples and their questions.

Drs. Rich Zollinger, Brian Jenks and Kirk Howatt (left to right) tell the audience how to identify marsh sowthistle and narrow-leaf hawk's beard and how to control these weeds.

Pulse crops were the topic of the afternoon session, discussing the history of growing pulse crops in the MonDak and how diseases affect them. For the first time, a dedicated pulse crop scout collected information on pulse crop diseases in our area. This work was made possible by Kalil and she hopes it will continue in future years.

Panelists from Safflower Technology Inc., Viterra, Columbia Grain, and AGT Foods discussed options for contracting pulse crops and opportunities to increase price premiums through options such as seed production.

The WREC would like to thank all those who sponsored the BBQ chicken lunch, ice cream booth, evening social, and door prizes, as well as all those in attendance.

(Photos submitted by Dr. Clair Keene)


Reader Comments


Powered by ROAR Online Publication Software from Lions Light Corporation
© Copyright 2019