Capital press. (Salem, OR) 19??-current, August 21, 2015, Page 11, Image 11

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August 21, 2015
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East Idaho grower tests
new winter clover seed
Capital Press
ho — A local farmer is testing
a new species of clover, bred
to enhance pasture land, as a
unique cover crop option for
his region capable of fixing ni-
trogen throughout winter while
mellowing compacted soil.
Pleasant Valley grower Rob
Giesbrecht directly seeded
FI atioN Balansa clover into
150 acres of wheat stubble on
Aug. 12, spreading it with fer-
tilizer applied to support resi-
due decomposition and follow-
ing with a roller.
Cover crops are planted
solely for soil health benefits,
such as building organic matter,
preventing erosion, breaking
up soil compaction, nitrogen
fixation and biofumigation. In
southeast Idaho, where many
plant species aren’t adapted for
the harsh winters, growers typ-
ically plant cover crops imme-
diately following harvest and
incorporate them into their soil
in late October.
FI atioN clover, however,
tolerates extreme cold, pro-
duces a deep taproot and has
fixed up to 120 pounds of ni-
trogen per acre in trials. Given
its cold hardiness, Giesbrecht
expects the clover will contin-
ue fixing nitrogen throughout
the winter, maintaining roots
in the soil to prevent erosion
until he discs it into his soil
during spring. The deep roots
should also provide conduits
for soil-moisture penetration.
Some area growers have
Carol Ryan Dumas/Capital Press
Idaho Bean Commission Chairman Don Tolmie talks with University
of Idaho soil fertility specialist Amber Moore during a University of
Idaho field day focused on bean research in Kimberly on Aug. 12.
John O’Connell/Capitall Press
Southeast Idaho grower Rob Giesbrecht walks through his field where a new clover variety is being
seeded directly into wheat stubble. He’s testing the clover as a winter cover crop option with a deep
tap root and high nitrogen fixation potential.
tried Austrian peas as a winter
cover crop to fix nitrogen, but
Giesbrecht notes peas lack clo-
ver’s deep taproot.
“I don’t know another cover
crop that has deep taproots like
that and will create nitrogen
like that in the time I have,”
Giesbrecht said.
Giesbrecht intends to contin-
ue planting oilseed radish and
mustard after harvest, working
them into his soil in late Octo-
ber, for the biofumigation bene-
fits, adding the clover provides
one more tool for his farm.
“The seed is going to cost
me around $20 per acre,” Gies-
brecht said. “If it does what it
says, it will save me $55 per
acre in nitrogen, and I’ll also be
ahead on organic matter.”
Giesbrecht has sold some of
the seed to ranchers in several
states as a dealer for Grassland
Oregon, which released FI a-
tioN clover two years ago.
Don Baune, a partner with
Salem-based Grassland Ore-
gon, said the variety has won
over farmers as a winter cover
crop in the Midwest and can
survive in temperatures as low
as minus 10 degrees. He said
it fixes about double the nitro-
gen per acre as crimson clover,
one of the most popular nitro-
gen-fixing clover varieties, and
also works well as a dairy si-
lage crop.
Baune said FI atioN clover
was developed through conven-
tional breeding, derived from a
few clover plants in research
plots that somehow survived an
especially cold Oregon winter.
Baune envisions it will also
prove to be an important nitrogen
source for organic producers.
Doug Ruff, another Pleasant
Valley grower, has never plant-
ed a winter cover crop and will
be interested in Giesbrecht’s
results. Ruff has experimented
with clover and oilseed radish
cover crop blends, discing them
into his soil in October.
“We’ve got such low organ-
ic matter. (Cover crops) really
help build the soil back up,”
Ruff said. “I know the more
you can keep your ground ac-
tive, the better it is.”
UI cereals educator learning
regional grain challenges
Jon Hogge, the new Uni-
versity of Idaho Extension
area cereals educator for
Eastern Idaho, attends a
field day on direct seeding
hosted July 22 in Swan
Valley, Idaho. Hogge will
be tasked with helping
growers diagnose problems
in their cereal crops.
Capital Press
REXBURG, Idaho — Jon
Hogge has spent the summer
studying grain fields and at-
tending agricultural meetings
throughout the state, meeting
cereal growers and learning
about their concerns.
As the new University of
Idaho Extension cereals edu-
cator for Eastern Idaho, Hog-
ge will be the first to respond
when farmers in the critical
grain-growing region need help
assessing diseases and other
crop problems.
“I think there are some un-
precedented insect and disease
issues we’re not used to hav-
ing,” Hogge said. “We’re going
to have to work pretty hard to
stay ahead of the game.”
When he encounters es-
pecially complex issues, he’ll
consult with a host of other
UI crop experts, including UI
Extension cereals pathologist
Juliet Marshall. Marshall hopes
Hogge’s position will free her
to focus more time on research,
John O’Connell/Capital Press
and less on field visits.
“It should lighten my load
up quite a bit when it comes to
a lot of the initial calls of prob-
lems in the field,” Marshall
said. “I’m inundating him with
a lot of our material and taking
him on a lot of my initial field
visits so he can get experience
with problem fields.”
Marshall said it’s been a
good season to expose Hogge
to an array of crop issues that
have surfaced, including barley
yellow dwarf virus, application
errors, seeding depth issues,
stripe rust, cereal cyst nema-
tode and iron toxicity.
Prior to accepting his
new position June 22, Hogge
worked as a UI Extension for-
age educator for Jefferson and
Clark counties. He now serves
growers in Jefferson, Clark,
Bonneville, Fremont, Madison
and Teton counties.
Hogge’s office is in Madi-
son County. Wayne Jones, UI’s
interim eastern district Exten-
sion director, said the university
won’t fill the Madison County
Extension educator’s position,
which has been vacant for four
years, to fund Hogge’s position.
Jones said UI has a sim-
ilar cereals position serving
Northern Idaho, and faculty
determined a couple of years
ago that a cereals educator was
needed in Eastern Idaho, a ma-
jor wheat-growing area and
home to about 80 percent of the
state’s malt barley production.
“This fills a need we’ve had
for quite a while at the univer-
sity, and we’re looking forward
to some good things coming
out of the position,” Jones said.
Jones is still working to fill five
open Extension educator posi-
tions in Eastern Idaho.
Hogge, who started his UI
forage position in 2011, has a
bachelor’s degree from Utah
State University and earned a
master’s in agricultural educa-
tion from University of Idaho
in 2008. He also spent 11 years
working as a high school ag-
riculture teacher in Rigby and
Idaho Falls.
Nearly midway through this
season’s harvest, Hogge said
growers are generally pleased
with yields and are finishing
well ahead of schedule, which
should leave them ample time
to plant fall cover crops or irri-
gate volunteer grain post har-
vest for cattle forage.
Bean researchers
study nitrogen
fertilizer options
There was no noticeable
response in last year’s trials
at Kimberly, although the
KIMBERLY, Idaho — control plot with no nitrogen
About 50 people turned out applied had the second low-
to walk through bean fields est yields, she said.
Beans don’t need much
Wednesday to find out more
about University of Ida- nitrogen, but they do benefit
ho research focused on dry from a little shock of it, she
This year, the researchers
One of the trials is homing
in on bean response to differ- made improvements to the
ent application rates, meth- experiment with an increased
ods of application and types number of replications, six-
row plots instead of four-row
of nitrogen fertilizer.
Bean growers were look- plots, longer plots, fewer
ing for an effective slow-re- treatments and better-timed
petiole sam-
lease product,
and Idaho Bean
In addition
‘We’ve funded
to the control
approached UI
more research in treatment of no
researchers to
test new prod-
the last three to nitrogen,
treatments in-
ucts, said Am-
cluded urea at
ber Moore, a
five years than
pre-plant, ESN
UI soil fertility
the last 20 years, at pre-plant,
half urea and
Bean grow-
probably even
half ESN at
pre-plant, and
30 (years).’
put down nitro-
urea at pre-
gen at pre-plant
— Don Tolmie plant and top-
and top dress
dressed at sec-
the crop later.
Idaho Bean Commission
ond trifoliate.
Growers want
Each treat-
to be able to
ment was done
do it all at pre-
plant and avoid having to at three different rates — 33
percent, 66 percent and 100
topdress, she said.
The research, begun last percent of UI recommen-
year, is funded through a dations. Pink 527 beans
Specialty Crop Block Grant were used this year and were
from the Idaho State Depart- planted on June 16. Petiole
sampling was done on Aug.
ment of Agriculture to IBC.
“We work with the IBC to 4, and data is still being pro-
meet the goals of the grant. cessed.
Yields will be the ultimate
The IBC received about
$13,500 for the specialty test of the benefits of the ESN
crop grant. The IBC has also fertilizer, but what matters is
contributed roughly $20,000 the cost-effectiveness of any
over the two-year study to- treatment, Moore said.
Don Tolmie, chairman of
ward petiole nutrient analy-
the Idaho Bean Commission,
sis,” said Moore.
The university held tri- said bean growers are fund-
als in Kimberly and Parma ing several start-up research
last year and proved the ef- projects and reaping the re-
ficacy of a time-released, wards of additional funding
poly-coated urea product — from such agencies as USDA
ESN from Agrium. Wheth- and ISDA.
“We’ve funded more re-
er it increases yields over
the pre-plant and top dress search in the last three to five
method is the Buestion UI years than the last 20 years,
researchers are hoping to an- probably even 30 (years),” he
swer, she said.
Capital Press