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June 4, 2002 Ralston Project Field Day
Integrating BMPs and Genetics to Improve No-Till Spring Cropping Systems in the Northwest Crop-Fallow Region

Project Overview - The Ralston Project is located in an 11-inch annual rainfall zone near the small town of Ralston south of Ritzville, WA on cropland donated for the study by Curtis Hennings. The 5-year Phase I of the research trial covered 20 acres and was completed in 2000. Phase II of the project began in the fall of 2000 and expanded the trial to an additional 20 acres on the Hennings farm.

The project involves 14 scientists from nine disciplines, four agencies, a 12-member grower advisory group, and the cooperation of several Ag-industry companies. Current funding sources include: USDA-Agricultural Research Service; Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); and two grant programs through USDA-Cooperative States Research, Extension and Education Service (CSREES), 1) the Columbia Plateau Wind Erosion/Air Quality Project and 2) the STEEP (Solutions To Environmental and Economic Problems) program. Various equipment, supplies and materials have been donated or contributed by The McGregor Co. and Connell Grain Growers and other Ag support companies.

Phase I of the research had two major components: a 5-year field study with field-scale equipment and a series of complimentary satellite studies investigating fertility, variety selection, alternate crops, seeding rates, and other related agronomic practices. The main trials evaluated four cropping systems: 1) soft white winter wheat/fallow under reduced tillage; 2) soft white spring wheat/no-till chem fallow; 3) continuous no-till hard red spring wheat; and 4) no-till hard red spring wheat alternating with spring barley. Current best management practices were utilized on the site with no-till and reduced tillage practices applied whenever possible. Field-scale equipment was used so findings would be more adaptable to grower conditions. Smaller plots were used on some the satellite trials.

Phase II of the project has not been completely decided upon, but does include: 1) conservation tillage winter wheat / fallow; 2) no-till facultative spring wheat / canola; 3) no-till hard red spring wheat; 4) no-till hard red spring wheat / spring barley; 5) no-till late seeded winter wheat / spring triticale / spring wheat; and 6) flex-cropping systems research.

Preliminary Agenda - The Field Day will be from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM at the Ralston Project site. It is located off HWY 261 about 13 miles south of Ritzville or 10 miles north of Washtucna and then 3 miles west on Providence Road.

This Field Day will feature three main topics:

  1. Summary results of the 5-year Phase I research program on no-till annual spring cropping
  2. Highlights of crop performance and research results under the 2001 drought year.
  3. Preliminary results and plans for Phase II of the research project, which began in the fall of 2000 with new crops, crop rotations and associated management trials.

More Information - To receive more information on the Field Day program and reserve your catered lunch from Longhorn Barbecue, contact Cindy Warriner at the WSU Cooperative Extension office in Ritzville, 509-659-3214, FAX 659-3206, e-mail (warriner@wsu.edu).


Contact us: Hans Kok, (208)885-5971 | Accessibility | Copyright | Policies | WebStats | STEEP Acknowledgement
Hans Kok, WSU/UI Extension Conservation Tillage Specialist, UI Ag Science 231, PO Box 442339, Moscow, ID 83844 USA
Redesigned by Leila Styer, CAHE Computer Resource Unit; Maintained by Debbie Marsh, Dept. of Crop & Soil Sciences, WSU