Rochelle Wickwire, a Washington State Department of Natural Resource (DNR) summer intern, and I had the opportunity to attend the 2016 Cropping Systems Field Day in Douglas County on May 24. This field day was sponsored by Washington State University, USDA-Agricultural Research Service and Central Washington Grain Growers. This is the second year that I’ve attended the tour and it was exciting to see what our lessees are participating in and the variety of farm practices being implemented.
The first stop of the day was at Tom Poole’s farm north of Mansfield. Mr. Poole presented the topic of winter canola as a rotation crop. Douglas County producers are expanding their planting of canola as a rotational crop. He also discussed sunflowers and how they fit as a rotational oilseed crop for the Douglas County area. The use of canola as a cover crop is also increasing on state lands along with experiments using different cover crops planted with direct seed methods.
At the next stop Douglas Poole discussed the topic of spring forage triticale and 2015 and 2016 cover crop endeavors on his ranch. Multiple farmers in Douglas, Lincoln and Okanogan counties have participated in cover crop trials with Leslie Michel of the Okanogan Conservation District.
After lunch the group looked at some winter peas at a site north of Waterville and heard Howard Nelson from Central Washington Grain Growers discuss what he likes about this crop.
At the last stop of the day, Dr. Ian Burke presented the topic of chem-fallow and weed management. The field day also included a presentation and discussion about upcoming herbicide trials planned for the area.
If you have the opportunity to attend one of these field days you will find that it is educational and well worth your time.
by Cindy Preston, Natural Resources Specialist, Agriculture Leasing Unit, DNR Southeast Region