Return to 2001 Conference Proceedings

Speaker Biographical Summaries
2001 Northwest Direct Seed Cropping Systems Conference

(Alphabetical Order)

John Aeschliman
Grower, 201 Aeschliman Rd., Colfax, WA 99111, phone 509-397-3119, Fax 509-397-6017, E-mail ( ---- John and his son Cory farm about 4,000 acres in the Onecho area about 9 miles south of Colfax, WA. They farm in two annual precipitation zones: 15- to 18-inch and 18- to 20-inch. They have been developing their direct seed systems over the past 20 years and have some fields under continuous direct seeding for 15 years. Their main crops are winter wheat, spring barley, spring wheat, peas, Canola and corn. Their direct seed drills include a Great Plains 3010 air drill, a Yielder 20-15 mobile track drill and a Yielder 13-20 end wheel drill. John and Cory received the No-Till Conservation Farmer of the Year Award from the Whitman Conservation District in 1998.

Daniel Ball
Associate Professor of Weed Science, Oregon State University Columbia Basin Agricultural Research Center, P.O. BOX 370, Pendleton, Oregon, 97801, Phone 541-278-4408, Fax 541-278-4188, E-mail ( ---- Dan received his Ph.D. degree in Weed Science in 1987 from the University of Wyoming, an M.S. degree in Pest Management in 1978 from the University of California, Riverside, and a B.S. degree in Crop Protection in 1976 from Kansas State University. His research focuses on the impact of crop production practices on weeds in winter wheat, weed management in dryland cropping systems, and alternative crop rotations in the dryland regions of the Pacific Northwest. His Extension activities include presentations and publications addressing weed management issues for dryland crop producers in the Pacific Northwest, and annual contributions to the Pacific Northwest Weed Control Handbook. Before pursuing a Ph.D. degree, Dr. Ball was previously a County Extension Agent with the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension Service. He has authored or coauthored over 20 refereed articles and Extension bulletins, and over 30 abstracts and special reports pertaining to weed management issues in the Pacific Northwest.

Bob Blackshaw
Weed Scientist, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Lethbridge Research Center, 5403 - 1st Avenue South, P.O. Box 3000, Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada T1J4B1, phone 403-317-2268, Fax 403-382-3156, E-mail (, Web site ( --- Bob was raised on a grain and livestock farm near Virden, Manitoba. He attained degrees from Brandon University, the University of Manitoba, and the University of Guelph. He has worked as an Agronomist with AgriCore and as a research and development officer with DuPont Canada. In 1986, he began his current job as a Weed Scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada at Lethbridge Alberta. Bob's research program deals with weed management in cereal, oilseed and pulse crops on the Canadian prairies. His specific research interests include weed biology and ecology, weed herbicide resistance, weed control in conservation tillage systems, and developing integrated weed management programs. He is active in extension activities and sits as a technical advisor to several producer organizations. Bob recently spent a year in Australia learning about their weed resistance problems and solutions.

Sheldon E. Blank
Monsanto Product Development Specialist; Address: 3805 S. Dennis, Kennewick, WA 99337; Phone: 509-586-9060; Email ( Sheldon was raised on a dryland wheat and cattle ranch near Rosalia, WA. He received a B.S. in Agronomy from Washington State University in 1972, and M.S. in Agronomy from the University of Minnesota in 1974 and Ph.D. in Agronomy from the University of Minnesota in 1975. ---- Sheldon and his wife, Janyce, have three children and reside in Kennewick, WA. After completing has Ph.D., Sheldon began work for Monsanto Company and has been employed as a technical representative with that organization since 1975. He relocated to his present field technical position in the Pacific Northwest in 1981 and has been instrumental in the development of Roundup and Maverick herbicides. He has also been actively involved in the development of Roundup for use in direct seed cropping systems. He has been a recipient of Monsanto's "Distinguished Field Development Award" in 1983 and 1986. He is Past President of the Western Society of Weed Science, as well as a "Fellow" in that organization and recipient of the "Outstanding Weed Scientist-Private Sector" in 1993.

George Clayton
Cropping Systems Agronomist and Head of the Plant and Soil Section of the Lacombe Research Centre, Lacombe, Alberta, Canada, Phone 403-782-8123, Fax 403-782-6120, E-mail ( ---- George is responsible for the research programs at Lacombe, Beaverlodge and Fort Vermilion, Alberta. The mandate for the Centre is to develop crop and animal production systems in short season environments. George's current research activity includes production practices of barley, Canola, field pea and triticale in an integrated approach to enhance weed and disease management. George, along with his colleague Dr. Wendell Rice, has successfully introduced granular inoculants for field pea production into western Canada. Other areas of research include fall seeded Canola, integrated agronomic canola systems, time of weed removal in Canola and field pea and cropping systems research. George has worked in the Peace River region of Alberta for 12 years before re-locating to Lacombe in 1996. George received an undergraduate and Masters degree in Agriculture at the University of Manitoba and a Ph. D. degree from the University of Saskatchewan. He works with many producer groups and industry partners to keep his research relevant and the technology developed transferred to the end-users.

Carlos Crovetto
Grower and author, Concepcion, Chile, E-mail ( ---- Carlos has used no-till on his 1000 acre farm in Chile for over 22 years. He stop plowing in 1959 and since 1978 he is drilling and planting wheat, lupine, corn and recently soybean under permanent no-till. Back in the 50's and 60's he studied soil conservation during three trips to the United States with the former Soil Conservation Services, mainly in Western States. He was one of the founders of the Soil Conservation Society of Chile and has served as president since 1974. In 1990, he built a Conference room for 120 people and guest house for four, and receives annually 2,000 international visitors. Carlos is invited to speak several times a year in Argentina, Brasil, the USA and almost all South American countries, and has spoken in Canada, England, Spain, and Germany. He published the1996 book "Stubble over the soil: the vital role of plant residues in soil management to improve soil quality" through the American Society of Agronomy. The in-depth, scientific and impassioned book documents how years of no-till farming has brought his severely eroded farm back to remarkable soil productivity and profitability. For more information on the book, contact the American Society of Agronomy, phone 608-273-8080, e-mail ( or see their Web site ( and click on Publication and then, Professional Aids. The book was previously published in 1992 in Spanish as "Rastrojos sobre el Suelo." In 1999, the third edition was published in Madrid, titled "Agricultura de Conservación" and edited by Eumedia. The book has also been translated and published in French.

Berkeley "Berk" Davis
Grower and part owner in B.L. Davis Ranch Inc., P.O. Box 18, Adams, OR 97810, Phone 541-566-3563, ext. 11, Fax 541-566-3953, E-mail ( ---- Berk manages the family farm near Adams, OR in a 15- to 23-inch precipitation zone in Umatilla County. They have had about 1/3 of the 8,000 acre Umatilla farm under direct seeding for the past 4 years, and most all the cropland direct seeded in 2000. The main crops include winter wheat, spring wheat, green and dry peas, garbanzo beans, and grass seed. Their primary drill is the Concord Air Drill with Anderson openers, though they also use the Great Plains coulter-double disk drill. Berk is a Supervisor with the Umatilla Soil and Water Conservation District.

Doug Drake
Grower, 64598 Sandhollow Rd., Heppner, OR 97836, phone 541-676-9883 or 8725, Fax 676-8704, E-mail ( ---- Doug farms about 3,000 acres in southern Morrow County in an 8' to 10-inch annual precipitation zone. Some of his fields have been in continuous direct seeding for 6 years. Cereals are his main crops, including soft white and hard red wheat, and barley. He direct seeds with a Concord 3010 air drill with 1100 Concord air cart.

Leroy "Lee" Druffel
Grower, Bar Star, Inc., 802 Bald Butte Rd., Colton, WA, phone 509-229-3238, Fax 509-229-3845, E-mail ( ---- Leroy farms in a 15- to 20-inch annual precipitation zone in Whitman County, WA and Nez Perce Co., ID. After trying "Phase I" direct seed in 1979-82, he began "Phase II" with direct seeding in 1996 and some of his fields have been in continuous direct seeding since that time. His main crops include: soft white winter wheat, hard red, soft white and hard white spring wheat, spring barley, grass for seed, mustard, Canola, lentils, peas and flax. He is currently using a John Deere 1860 air seeder and Great Plains 3010 air seeder.

Randy and Jeff Emtman
Growers, S. 13516 Weger Rd., Valleyford, WA 99036, phone 509-448-9616, Fax 509-448-6549, E-mail for Randy ( ---- Randy and Jeff farm about 7,500 acres near Valleyford, Freeman, Rockford, Fairfield, and Waverly, WA, and Worley, ID. The farms are in the 18- to 25-inch annual precipitation zone. Their major crops are bluegrass and wheat. Minor crops include barley, oats, lentils and peas. Randy and Jeff have been developing their direct seed systems for over 20 years and have some fields under continuous direct seeding for 5 years. They direct seed with a Flexi-Coil 5000 shank air drill on 7.2" spacing and a Flexi-Coil 6000 single disk air drill on 7.5" spacing.

R. Jeff Esdaile
Grower / former Director, Livingston Farm, 18 Meadowbanks Drive, Tamworth, New South Wales 2340 Australia, Phone 61-2-6752-2855, Fax 61-2-6752-43990, E-mail ( ---- Until his retirement in July 2000, Jeff spent 24 years at Manager of the 10,000 acre Livingston Farm near Moree in the NW plains of New South Wales in Northeast Australia. The farm, an investment property of the University of Sydney, has become a demonstration farm for conservation farming in NSW. The main crops are wheat, barley, grain sorghum chickpeas, and field peas. The farm also has 2,000 acres of pasture and hay, with 5,800 sheep. Jeff started direct seeding on the farm in 1977 and had the entire 10,000 acres under direct seeding for the past 10 years. Jeff competed his B.S. degree of Ag. Science in 1959 and worked as a Research Agronomist for 7 years with NSW Agriculture. He then managed the University of Sydney Plant Breeding Institute at Narrabri NSW for 9 years before becoming Manager of the Livingston Farm in 1976. Jeff was president of the Moree Conservation Farmers Association, on the Committee of Advice of Graincorp NSW (the State farmer-owned grain handling authority) and a grower member of the Australian Grains Research and Development Corporation.

Michael Horsch
Grower / Equipment Manufacturer, Horsch Maschinen GmbH, Postfach 1038, D-92421 Schwandorf, Sitzenhof 1, Germany,, Fax 011-49-9431-41364, E-mail ( ---- Michael and his brothers farm about 30,000 acres in eastern and southern Germany, of which several thousand acres have been under continuous minimum tillage or no-till for over 35 years. They grow mainly winter crops such as winter wheat, winter barley, winter rape, and winter rye. Other crops include sugar beets, spring wheat and corn. Crop rotations in western Europe are commonly about 60-70% cereals, about 10% winter rape and the rest include sugar beets, peas, corn and other crops. Yields of winter cereals commonly range from 100 to 170 bu/acre, so cereal residue is the number one issue in minimum till and no-till systems. Residue challenges include crop diseases, cool soil temperatures, rodent and slug damage, grass weeds, and residue penetration by drills and tillage implements. Michael started the Horsch Maschinen GmbH in 1984 and it is one the largest seed drill manufacturers for minimum till and no-till seeding in western Europe. He has established two educational marketing centers on no-till cropping systems in Germany and France, now hosting about 7,000 visitors per year from western and eastern Europe.

Steve Keil
Grower, 415 South Iowa, Conrad, MT 59425, phone 406-278-5274, e-mail ( ---- Steve farms 12,500 acres east of Conrad MT, about 60 miles south of Canadian border, 60 miles north of Great Falls, and 60 miles east of the continental divide. He farms in a 12 inch annual precipitation zone where about half occurs in April, May and June. Most of his fields have been continuous direct seed systems for 9 years. His primary crops include winter wheat, spring wheat, malt barley, and spring Canola. He is currently using a Flexi-Coil 6000 with Barton double shoot openers. Steve received the Pondera County Soil Conservation District's Conservationist of Year Award in 1999. He was the Montana Grain Growers Association President in 1978-79, and President of the PNW Canola-Rapeseed Association in 1997. He was also a USDA representative on a Spring Wheat Inspection Team to the Soviet Union in 1978.

Mark Krebsbach
Grower, 3634 39th Ave. S.E., Tappen, ND 58487-9367, Phone 701-327-2197, Fax 701-327-2108, E-mail ( ---- Mark has farms near Tappen and Warwick, ND in a 16-inch precipitation zone. He has been developing his direct seed systems for over 25 years. He currently farms about 1000 acres with potatoes as a major crop, but has recently farmed over 5,000 acres, producing wheat, barley, oats, lentils, navy and pinto beans, corn, alfalfa, Sudan grass and sunflowers. The Haybuster has been his primary direct seed drill. Mark has been President of the Manitoba - North Dakota Zero Till Farmers Association.

David Mosman
Grower, Rt. 2, Box 43, Craigmont, ID 83523, Phone 208-937-2552, Fax 208-937-2552, E-mail ( ---- David farms 1,700 acres north of Nezperce, ID in a 22- to 26-inch annual precipitation zone. He has been developing his direct seed systems for the past 10 years and some of his fields have been under continuous direct seed for 5 years. His major crops include grass seed, wheat, barley, peas, lentils, Canola, flax and alfalfa hay. His drill is a modified John Deere 750. David has served as a Supervisor on the Lewis County Soil Conservation District for the past 10 years and is a member of the Board of Directors of the new PNW Direct Seed Association. He is also on the Board of Directors of the Idaho Crop Improvement Association and past president of the Nezperce Prairie Grass Growers Association.

William L. Pan
Professor and Soil Scientist, Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164-6420, Phone 509-335-3611, Fax 509-335-8674; E-mail ( ---- Bill has been at WSU since 1984. His research areas related to wheat straw utilization include: impacts of straw removal on cropping systems sustainability, developing soil amendment byproducts from wheat straw pulping, and determining fiber characteristics of PNW wheats as they relate to paper production. Other major research areas include soil fertility, plant nutrition, nutrient cycling and rhizosphere ecology of agricultural systems, cover cropping for nutrient recovery and soil erosion abatement, site-specific nutrient management; and computer imaging of plant root systems. His degrees include B.S. in Biochemistry, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI in 1976, M.S. in Soil Science, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO in 1979 and Ph.D. in Soil Science, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC in 1983.

Curtis Rainbolt
Weed science doctoral student, Department of Plant, Soil and Entomological Sciences, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID 83844-2339, phone 208-885-6274, Fax 208-885-7760, E-mail ( [Donn Thill, his Major Professor and co-author of the Proceedings paper, can be reached at 208-885-6214, E-mail (]. ---- Curtis is originally from San Saba, TX. He graduated from Texas Tech University in December 1997 with a B.S. in Agronomy, from the University of Idaho in May 2000 with a MS in Plant Science (Weed Science), and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Plant Science (Weed Science).

Chad W. Shelton
Division Agronomist, CPAg, Western Farm Service, W. 10428 Aero Rd., Spokane, WA 99224, Phone 509-838-5007, Fax 509-838-5307, E-mail ( ---- Chad was born and raised on a wheat and cattle ranch in Pomeroy, WA. He attended Washington State University and received a Bachelor of Science degree in Agronomy and a minor in Integrated Pest Management. He worked for Dupont agri-chemicals for one and half years in their research and development department. Upon graduation he joined Northwest Ag Consultants as a independent crop consultant and consulted on fertility and pesticide recommendations on 100,000 acres in SE Washington and NE Oregon. Over the past nine years he have been the Division Agronomist for Western Farm Service based out of Spokane, WA. The current Western Farm Service agronomy program conducts over 300 trials per year on the majority of crops in the Pacific Northwest. His goal as an agronomist in the PNW is to help growers address crop production challenges and opportunities through sound agronomic research.

Jerry L. Snyder
Grower, 839 N. Klein Rd., Ritzville, WA 99169, Phone 509-659-1645, E-mail ( ---- Jerry is a 4th generation farmer on the same land south of Ritzville in a 10- to 11-inch annual precipitation zone. He farms 2,600 acres with major crops of winter and spring wheat and minor crops of yellow mustard, safflower, Canola, millet and barley. He has been developing his direct seed systems for 6 years and some of his fields have been in continuous direct seeding for that time. His drill is a modified McGregor One-pass Drill with a Yetter coulter for fertilizer banding and Acra-Plant seed openers.

Donn Thill
Professor of Weed Science, Department of Plant, Soil and Entomological Sciences, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID 83844-2339, phone 208-885-6214, Fax 208-885-7760, E-mail ( ---- Donn has over 25 years of research experience in direct seed dryland wheat systems and has been a Professor of Weed Science at the UI for 20 years. His current research program focuses on direct seed cropping systems, control of volunteer herbicide-resistant crops, integration of herbicide-resistant crops into direct seed systems, and testing efficacy of various burndown herbicides.

Gary Witmer
Supervisory Research Wildlife Biologist and Project Leader, USDA/APHIS/WS National Wildlife Research Center, 4101 LaPorte Ave., Fort Collins CO 80521-2154, Phone 970-266-6095, Fax 970-266-6089, E-mail ( ---- Gary received his Ph.D. in wildlife science from Oregon State University. His research focuses on resolving human-wildlife conflicts and has included ungulates, carnivores, and rodents. He is an affiliate faculty of Washington State University and Colorado State University. He has been a member of the Wildlife Society for many years, is the secretary/treasurer of the Wildlife Damage Management Working Group, and has served as president of the Pennsylvania and Washington chapters. He has served as Chair of WCC-95 (Western Coordinating Committee for Vertebrate Pests of Agriculture, Forestry, and Public Lands). He is the Region 2 (Southern Rockies) Director of the National Animal Damage Control Association and a board member of the Consortium for International Crop Protection. He has authored or co-authored more than 50 scientific publications and has taught both undergraduate and graduate courses. He was formerly employed by Penn State University and Argonne National Laboratory.

Todd Wittman
Grower, Wittman Farms, Rt. 1 Box, 214, Lapwai, ID 83540, Phone and Fax 208-843-2325, E-mail ( Todd is 1 of 4 partners in Wittman Farms in Nez Perce County south and east of Lewiston, ID. They farm about 5,500 acres in a 15- to 24-inch annual precipitation zone. They have been developing their direct seed systems for the past 10 years and have some fields under continuous direct seeding for 6 years. Their primary crops include winter and spring wheat, spring barley, Canola, peas, lentils, garbanzos, grass for seed and alfalfa. They are currently using a Flexi-Coil 5000 shank air drill with a 2320 air cart. Following 85+ bu/acre winter wheat, they have done some light discing before direct seeding the following spring. Wittman Farms received a Millennium Family Farm Award in Washington D.C. from Ag Earth Partnership during the summer of 2000.

Stewart Wuest
Soil Scientist, USDA Agricultural Research Service, Columbia Plateau Conservation Research Center, PO Box 370, Pendleton, OR 97801, phone 541-278-4381, Fax 541-278-4372, E-mail ( ---- Stewart studies soil ecology under dryland cropping systems in eastern Oregon. His research focuses on changes in soil fauna, the root and seedling environment, and soil physical characteristics after switching to direct seed cropping system. Another research interest is the ecology of continuous winter wheat. Stewart gained extensive experience in field experimentation methods while coordinating the Pacific Northwest On-Farm Testing Project. The project developed and taught on-farm research methods to farmers, extension workers, and researchers in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. Before moving to the dryland Pacific Northwest, Stewart studied nitrogen dynamics under irrigated wheat at the University of California, Davis, where he earned a master's degree in agronomy and a doctorate in soil fertility.

Joe Yenish
WSU Extension Weed Scientist; Address: Crop and Soil Sciences Dept., WSU , Pullman, WA 99164-6420; Phone: (509) 335-2961; E-mail ( ---- Joe Yenish has been an Extension Weed Scientist with Washington State University at Pullman since June 1996. His responsibilities include weed management in dryland cropping systems of eastern Washington. Part of his research has focused on weed control in pulse and other alternative/complementary crops under conventional and conservation tillage. Prior to coming to WSU, he worked extensively on tillage effects on weed management. Dr. Yenish was raised on his family farm in southern Minnesota. He received a B.S. in Agronomy, 1981, North Dakota State University; M.S. in Agronomy, 1990, University of Wisconsin-Madison; and Ph.D. in Crop Science, 1994, North Carolina State University.

Frank Young
Research Agronomist / Weed Scientist, USDA-Agricultural Research Service, Land Management and Water Conservation Research Unit., Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164-6416, Phone 509-335-4196, Fax 509-335-8674, e-mail ( ---- Frank has been a research agronomist with ARS at Pullman since 1981. He holds a B.S. from South Dakota State University and M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota. His research in the Pacific Northwest has focused on agronomic, biological, and economic studies on control of weeds in small grain conservation tillage production systems, and the development of integrated systems of pest management for wheat production. Frank leads a large-scale, interdisciplinary study examining conservation cropping systems near Ritzville in the wheat-fallow region of eastern Washington. He was the leader on a similar 9-year study in the annual cropping region near Pullman, WA. His weed research focuses primarily on Russian thistle, jointed goatgrass and downy brome.

Kevin Zaychuk
Research Manager, Grow Tec Inc.,602-13th Avenue, Nisku, Alberta, CANADA T9E 7P6, Phone 780-955-8886, Fax 780-955-8878, E-mail: (, Web site ( ---- Kevin has a B. Sc. in Agriculture, a M.Sc. in Plant Pathology from University of Alberta and many years farming experience on his father's farm. He have been with Grow Tec Inc. over 8 years and over half of those in the position of Research Manager. Grow Tec develops and produces coated seed and seed coating technology using advanced polymer chemistry for agricultural crops.

Tom Zwainz
Grower, 30879 Zwainz Rd. N., Reardan, WA 99209, phone 509-796-2027, E-mail ( ---- Tom farms about 4,000 acres at two locations: 20 miles west of Spokane and 4 miles west of Colfax, both in about 17-inch annual precipitation zones. His major crops are wheat and malt barley, and minor crops are mustard, Canola, flax and corn. He uses Concord air drills to direct seed his crops and some of his fields have been under continuous direct seeding for 5 years.