Diana Roberts, WSU Extension Agronomist, Spokane County; Dennis Roe, NRCS, Pullman; Roger Veseth, WSU/UI Conservation Tillage Specialist (deceased); and Dennis Pittmann, WSU Crops and Soils Department (formerly WSU Extension research technician)
The Spokane County Direct Seeding Project was a 3-year project (2001–2003) funded by a grant from USDA-SARE (Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education).
Southern Spokane County is a unique part of eastern Washington; it is part of the Palouse, yet colder than the Pullman area and with a climate suitable for Kentucky bluegrass production. Growers in the annual cropping region (18 to 22 inches precipitation) identified residue management as a primary challenge to successfully adopting direct seeding. Seeding through heavy residue can be tough in the fall, and especially in the spring when thick winter wheat residue tends to keep the soil cold and wet.
The Spokane County growers participating in this direct seeding project decided to identify specific questions they wanted answered, and designed their own trials to solve them. Not surprisingly, most of the questions related to residue management.