LAND OF LIQUID: Who Needs Mountains? Go Climb a Washington Wheat Field.

So the next day offered up more wheat field adventures.  I have talked about the Palouse of Washington, Idaho and Oregon several times in the past.  It is a hilly area of rich soil in SE WA and SW Idaho.  Look it up.  I have shown pictures from the bottom of some steep fields, but never had the opportunity to climb up one….till today.  It seems that we have some on-farm fertilizer trials, one of which with Eric Odberg of Genesse, ID.  I talked about being there last September 24 to set up some trials, and here we are in the middle of one.  Here we see our friend Kay Mercer who is the Executive Director of the Pacific Northwest Direct Seed Association (PNDSA) and a couple of Eric’s.  Eric O. is a busy guy.  Not only does he farm a large amount of ground in the Palouse, but is also on the PNDSA board, and was selected as a Responsible Nutrient Practitioner at the last National No-Till conference.

If you have the ability to make this picture large and look closely towards the top, about in the middle, you can see an orange flag.  That is the divide of the plot comparing Eric’s normal liquid drill program vs one from AgroLiquid featuring a test liquid phosphate formulation with micros, sulfur and High NRG-N.

 Well the mountain won’t come to us, so up we go.  It was a beautiful, sunny day and I was having fun making the climb.  The wheat looked great thanks to ample rainfall.  And fertilizer of course.

 Up on top of the hill it flattens out.  But it is noticeably drier on top vs the slope.  I am on the divide with one plot on the left and the other on the right.  Can you see a difference?  Well before long the combine will tell how this story ends.

 Nearby, in one of Eric’s fields was a University of Idaho wheat variety plot.  It was interesting to see all the differences in the varieties.

There was another field comparison back over in Colton, WA.  This one was on Kay’s family farm managed by brother Frank Wolf.  That’s him in the middle.  The guy on the left is Kay’s husband Ty. He manages his family farm that is near the Wolf farm.  Ty is also on the PNDSA board and is the Production Ag Manager for the Spokane Conservation District.  So it was decided to put the three drill-applied treatments next to each other on the same farm.  The treatments were one with the test phosphate fertilizer, one with Pro-Germinator and the regular Wolf wheat fertilizer.

 For reference, that’s Sales Account Manager Eric all the way on the other side of the two AgroLiquid plots.  Each plot is nearly 20 acres.

The wheat is quite tall, which was not the case last fall when Kay put marker flags in the ground.  So it took some walking, but the flags were found, and then the wheat itself was marked with orange tape.  But like I said, I thought it was a nice day for a walk.  Or a climb.

Up on top of one of the field hills, you could watch an aerial applicator making a fungicide (I think) application to another wheat field.  There is wheat rust all around that is being sprayed.  Also spotted some Russian wheat aphids.  But not many.  Darn Russians anyway.

So that was a nice couple of field visits.  On the way back to Spokane we came across an unusual sight.  There was a wheat field that had at least a mile long strip and some other spots that looked like it had been sprayed with Roundup.  Don’t know if it was a disgruntled sprayer operator or if someone poured some left over Roundup into an empty fungicide jug and forgot.  Well this is probably a memory jogger.

Well winter wheat harvest isn’t that far away, so we will see how the test turns out.  But the blog isn’t through with this trip yet…so tune in later.