Conference Highlights


New Trade Show on Direct Seed Technologies, Equipment and Products

Argentina's Direct Seed Success Featured

Brazil: A No-Till Giant in the Making

Canadian Direct Seed Advantage

Crop Rotation Economics and Management Strategies

16 Direct Seed Growers to Speak

Why 60 Million Acres of Direct Seeding in Argentina, Brazil and Canada???

 

New Trade Show on Direct Seed
Technologies, Equipment and Products

A new Trade Show featuring the latest in equipment, products, services and management technologies for direct seed cropping systems will be a special addition to the 1999 Conference. It will be held in the Spokane Convention Center, adjoining the International Ag Trade Center where Conference sessions will be held.

The Trade Show will provide growers, Ag industry and researchers more opportunities to discuss technology needs and share new innovations. It will feature 8' X 10' commercial booths and equipment spaces, and commercial and educational poster displays and exhibit tables. Conference sponsorships are also available.

To receive a Conference Trade Show / Sponsorship prospectus, contact the NW Direct Seed Conference office at 509-547-5538, FAX 547-5563, or e-mail maurer@owt.com. The entire prospectus and registration form is also available on the Conference Internet home page http://pnwsteep.wsu.edu/conf99.

 

Argentina's Direct Seed Success Featured

Why are Argentina's growers making a rapid transition to no-till or direct seeding with diversified cropping systems? Economic competitiveness is a major driving force. The reasons behind the tremendous growth to over 14 million acres of no-till in Argentina in 1997 -- 28% of the cropland -- will be a special Conference feature.

Roberto Peiretti, a farmer and consulting agronomist from Cordoba, Argentina will be a Conference keynote speaker explaining the economic, agronomic, and environmental benefits of no-till systems in Argentina. He is on the Board of Directors of the Argentinian Producers Direct Seed Association (AAPRESID) and Latin American Confederation of Farmers for Sustainable Agricultural Systems (CAAPAS). He has spoken on no-till management strategies and systems at more than 25 no-till conference across South America and the U.S.

There was less than 2% of Argentina's cropland in no-till in 1990. That grew to 6% in 1993, 19% in 1996, and 28% in 1997, and an expected 35% in 1998. Comparing the Northwest's 5% of cropland in no-till in 1997 to Argentina's 6% in 1993, you could say that we are about four years behind Argentina in adopting more efficient farming technologies.

 

Brazil: A No-Till Giant in the Making

Although Brazil is not currently a world no-till leader with 15 million acre in 1997 (15% of the cropland), it has the potential for quickly becoming a no-till giant and increasingly tough global competitor with the addition of about 250 million acres of new farmland under no-till. Insights into the reasons behind Brazil's movement to direct seed systems will be a special feature of the 2nd Northwest Direct Seed Cropping Systems Conference and Trade Show. It will be held on January 5-7, 1999 at the International Ag Trade Center / Convention Center and DoubleTree Hotel-City Center in Spokane, WA.

A Conference keynote speaker will be Dr. Gilberto Tomm, Director for Research at the National Wheat Research Center (EMBRAPA TRIGO) near Passo Fundo, RS, Brasil. As a Research Agronomist at over the past 15 years, Dr. Tomm has focused much of his research on management systems for alternative crops and rotations under direct seeding.

Although 1998 data are not yet available, some examples of 1997 statistics provide insight into our national and international competition. The 5% of PNW cropland under no-till direct seed systems pales in comparison to the U.S. average of 16%, Brazil - 15%, Canada - 18%, Argentina - 28% and western Australia - 30%. Brazil's no-till acres grew slowly from a few thousand acres in 1972 to 3 million in 1990. Since then, it rapidly increased to 10 million in 1995, 15 million 1997 and is expected to exceed 25 million acres (25%) in 1998.

The pending development of nearly 250 million acres of new farmland under direct seed systems in the Cerrados area of Brazil could dramatically expand use of direct seeding. Once considered not feasible to farm under conventional tillage because of the fragile soil landscapes, the Cerrados promises to become a productive and sustainable farming region under direct seeding. EMBRAPA research is expanding to meet this future challenge and opportunity.

Canadian Direct Seed Advantage

In the Canadian Prairie Provinces there are over 17 million acres, about 20% of cropland, under direct seeding compared to ½ million acres in the Pacific Northwest, which is about 5% of the cropland. In the annual cropping areas of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, the percentage is much higher, ranging from 35 to 55 %. Two driving economic factors behind this transition are 1) higher crop yields with increased water storage, and 2) reduced production costs with direct seeding compared to intensive tillage. Effective soil erosion control and improved soil productivity are also important reasons behind the increase.

Canada has a major research program on direct seed systems. Three Canadian researchers and one grower will present some of the latest Canadian technologies and experiences for direct seed systems at the Northwest Direct Seed Cropping Systems Conference and Trade Show in Spokane, WA. It will be held on January 5-7, 1999 at the Ag Trade Center / Convention Center and DoubleTree Hotel-City Center.

A summary of western Canada research and experiences with direct seeding of pulse and oilseed crops will be presented by Adrian Johnston, Research Agronomist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada at the Melfort Research Farm near Melfort, SK. Johnston's research has focused on integrated crop management systems for rotations with pulse crops, oilseeds and small grains under direct seed systems. Direct seeding has greatly expanded pulse production into lower precipitation regions of Canada than ever before. Northwest research on direct seed pulse crops will also be featured at the Conference.

Research on direct seed row spacing for cereals, pulse and oilseed crops will be summarized by Guy Lafond - Production Systems Agronomist with the Brandon Research Center located a the Indian Head Research Farm near Indian Head, SK, Canada. Dr. Lafond's research over the past 14 years has focused on management systems and alternative crops and rotations for zero tillage. Results from Northwest row spacings research will also be presented.

Canadian research developments on managing soil biology for improved soil quality under direct seed systems will be highlighted by Jill Clapperton - Rhizosphere Ecologist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and Head of the Rhizosphere Ecology Research Group at the Lethbridge Research Center near Lethbridge, Alberta. The Research Group addresses a variety of topics including: earthworm effects on residues, disease, and nitrogen in no-till systems; biological seed treatments against fungal diseases; and the effects of various cropping and soil management practices on the diversity of soil organisms. This Conference session on soil quality will also feature recent Northwest research results.

Ken Eshpeter, a grower in east central Alberta will share his experiences with 10 years of direct seeding. He grows canola, peas, wheat, barley, and oats in a 15- to 17-inch rainfall zone. He has seen significant improvements in soil quality and production potential since he began direct seeding.

 

Crop Rotation Economics and Management Strategies

For decades, Northwest growers have had to rely on intensive tillage as a survival pest management tool under tight crop rotation restrictions of past the USDA farm programs. The new freedom in crop rotation flexibility that growers now have allows them to join the rapid transition to more profitable direct seed / minimum tillage systems across North America and around the world, and become more competitive in the increasingly global market. A key to successful direct seed systems is the adaptation of crop rotations to manage pests previously managed by tillage. Economic and agronomic strategies for crop rotations for successful direct seed systems is a major focus of the Northwest Direct Seed Cropping Systems Conference and Trade Show. It will be held January 5-7, 1999 at the International Ag Trade Center / Convention Center and DoubleTree Hotel-City Center in Spokane, WA.

Of the 37 Conference speakers, 35 will directly address some economic or agronomic aspect of alternate crops and rotations for direct seeding. Example topics include: considerations and strategies for selecting crops and rotations for direct seeding; extended rotations and annual cropping in crop-fallow areas; direct seed rotations for the intermediate rainfall zone; grower experiences with cropping systems and equipment; agronomics and economics of new alternate crops; and negotiating new lease arrangements with the transition to direct seeding and new rotations.

 

16 Direct Seed Growers to Speak

Grower experiences with direct seeding and more intensive cropping systems across the Northwest, Great Plains, Canada and Argentina will be a special feature of the Conference.
A total of 16 growers will speak about their experiences with direct seeding, including: production costs, equipment design and modifications, pest management, crop rotations, residue management, and a wide range of other considerations for direct seed systems. In addition, some special in-depth presentations by growers include 1) economic comparisons of leasing, owning, custom hiring and forming joint ventures on direct seeding equipment; 2) considerations for the transition to direct seed diverse cropping systems; and 3) cost comparisons between direct seeding and conventional tillage.

There will be 13 growers from Oregon, Idaho and Washington, plus one grower each from Argentina, South Dakota, and Alberta, Canada. They bring a wealth of experience and enthusiasm about the benefits and challenges of direct seeding.

 

Why 60 Million Acres of Direct Seeding in
Argentina, Brazil and Canada???

Some of our global competitors in the grain market are quickly making the transition to direct seed systems. Some international examples include Argentina - 35%, Brazil - 25%, and the Canadian Prairie Provinces - 35-55% -- representing over 60 million acres of cropland. Although only about 5% of PNW cropland (<500,000 acres) is under direct seed systems, that is expected to increase dramatically over the next few years in the face of this international competition in production efficiency.

Speakers from these three countries will explain what's behind the rapid growth in direct seeding at the Northwest Direct Seed Cropping Systems Conference and Trade Show. It will be held on January 5-7, 1999 at the International Ag Trade Center / Convention Center and DoubleTree Hotel-City Center in Spokane, WA.

There is a rapidly growing movement towards direct seeding and more diverse crop rotations across North America and around the world. These changes are being driven by a number of factors including: 1) the need to reduce costs and improved profitability to compete in today's global market; 2) a greater awareness of the soil quality and productivity benefits of direct seeding versus detriments of intensive tillage; 3) an increasing grower and public concern about cropland soil loss by water and wind erosion; and 4) in the U.S., new flexibility in crop rotation under USDA programs. Nearly 900 Northwest growers and Ag support personnel attended the 1998 NW Direct Seed Conference in Pasco, WA, -- a marked increase compared to 200-400 at similar PNW conferences in recent years. An audience of 1,200 to 1,500 is expected in 1999 at Spokane.


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