June 4, 2002
Ralston Project Field Day
Integrating BMPs and Genetics to Improve No-Till Spring
Cropping Systems in the Northwest Crop-Fallow Region
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Field Day will feature three main topics: