Cropping Systems Conference in Kennewick, WA, January 9-10, Focuses on Soil Health, Direct Seeding, and Healthy Food

laptop in field
The annual Cropping Systems Conference at the Tri-Cities Conference Center in Kennewick, WA, is producer oriented, focusing on improving yields and your bottom line, using the latest research, technology, and techniques. This two-day conference on January 9 and 10 has an extensive trade show featuring the latest machinery and technology.  There are six keynote speakers and six educational tracks, featuring cover crops, precision ag, soil health, direct seeding, ag business, and consumer trends and marketing.  Early bird registration ends this Friday, Dec. 15, so you may want to check out this year’s schedule and speakers. For more information, go to


Growing Sustainable Small Farms in Idaho

IASFIYF with logos
Helping a new generation of farmers take root is the goal of a University of Idaho Extension workshop series, “Starting Your Sustainable Small Farm in Idaho.”

The workshop series will begin with an introductory webinar Jan. 8 from 6-7 p.m. PST, three all-day in-class sessions, a wrap-up event and two farm tours.

The all-day sessions are scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 13; Saturday, Feb. 3 and Saturday, March 3 from 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Pacific Time at several locations including: Bonners Ferry, Caldwell, Cascade, Driggs, Moscow, Sandpoint, Kamiah and Weiser. The wrap-up event will be March 29. Following the day-long workshops, farm tours will be scheduled for local participants at each location.

“The workshop series will help those aspiring to operate small farms and ranches take a realistic look at their goals and resources.” said Iris Mayes, UI Extension Latah County small farms and horticulture educator in Moscow.

“The goal is that at each site we build this community,” she said. “That’s very different from just watching a webinar.”

Jan. 6 is the registration deadline for the workshop series. Students will learn about:

  • Assessing goals and resources
  • Evaluating crop and livestock options
  • Completing a whole-farm plan
  • Exploring farming and ranching systems
  • Consulting with experienced farmers

The course fee is $115 for one registrant, $35 for additional adult registrations and $5 for additional youth registrants. Some partial scholarships are available.

More information and registration instructions are available online at UI Extension faculty in Bonners Ferry, Caldwell, Cascade, Driggs, Moscow, Sandpoint, Kamiah and Weiser will organize local sessions.

A $506,122 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture expands on a 15-year effort by the UI Extension Small Farms Program that has enrolled nearly 600 students across Idaho in the Cultivating Success training program. For more information, call Kate Painter at 208-267-3235.

Pesticide Applicators Recertification Training on Tuesday, Dec. 5, 1:30-5pm

This training if  designed for pesticide applicators that are currently licensed and need to earn recertification credits. Topics include controlling pocket gophers and other rodents using integrated pest management techniques; organic pesticide options for small orchard growers, and environmental fate of pesticides. Three pesticide recertification credits are anticipated.

Please call Boundary County Extension at 208-267-3235 to pre-register. $5 charge at the door. Class will be held at the Boundary County Extension Office, 6447 Kootenai St., Bonners Ferry. The same course is also offered in Bonner County from 8:30 to noon at 4205 N. Boyer Ave. in Sandpoint.

North Idaho Forage School resources and presentations offered for all


For those who were unable to attend this year’s North Idaho Forage & Grazing School, presentations and resources are available below. Topics included integrated pest manangement methods for rodent control, hay tests and testing equipment, weed control, cost-share programs for pasture renovation, and economics of harvesting hay.


Integrated pest manangement methods for rodent control
Hay sampling and testing
Weed control strategies for pastures and hay fields
Calculating hay harvesting costs

Resource materials:

CIS0447 Northern Idaho Alfalfa Fertility Guide

CIS0851 N Idaho Fertility Guide for Pastures

CIS1178 Proper Coring

CIS1107 Sampling the Moisture Content of Alfalfa in the Windrow


PNW0627 Meadow Voles and Pocket Gophers: Management in Lawns, Gardens, and Cropland

PNW0614 Pasture and Grazing Management in the Pacific Northwest


BUL0802 Performance Legumes in Northern Idaho

BUL 798 Performance Grasses in Northern Idaho

BUL 901 Cover Crops for Grazing Use in Idaho

A3637 Identifying Pasture Grasses

Software for calculating hay harvesting costs: 
Program (Excel)


Grass Hay in Northern Idaho, Small Square Bales, bulletin and Excel spreadsheet

Alfalfa Hay in Northern Idaho, Small Square Bales, bulletin and Excel spreadsheet

North Idaho Forage School: Join us Monday, November 6, at the Boundary County Fairgrounds!


Please join us for the North Idaho Forage School on Monday, November 6, from 10am to 3pm at the Boundary County Fairgrounds Memorial Hall. University Extension Forage Specialists will present information on management of alfalfa and grass for optimal production plus updates on current issues and problems. There will be plenty of time for questions, so please bring your concerns. An economic update on hay and cattle production costs will be presented. Weed control and herbicide information will also be discussed. Pesticide recertification credits will be available. To register, call the Boundary County Extension office 208-267-3235.


Deadline for 2018 NRCS cost-share applications is Friday, October 13

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERAThis year’s deadline for landowners to apply for cost-share programs through the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is coming up! Our local NRCS staff are happy to provide a no-cost natural resources consultation for private landowners. Landowners often take advantages of cost share projects for timber, ag, and wildlife projects following these visits.

If you are interested, please contact Greg Becker @ 208-267-3340 ext.102 or Ken Roberts ext. 101 at the Bonners Ferry NRCS and Conservation District Field Office An application does not obligate the applicant to anything and can be cancelled at any time.


Lost Rivers Grazing Academy to be held September 12-15 in Salmon, ID


This 4-day, hands-on workshop for livestock producers and consultants teaches you how to increase profits, reduce costs, optimize forage production, and enhance your pasture ground. While primarily focusing on irrigated production, the lessons and principles learned can be applied to any ranch. The program is provided by current and emeritus members of the University of Idaho Extension, as well as our featured speaker, Jim Gerrish.  Jim, formerly with the Forage Systems Research Center of the University of Missouri is known the world over for his expertise in the management of temperate climate and irrigated pastures.  He has extensive experience as a pasture researcher, grazier, and international grazing consultant. He lives on a cattle ranch in eastern Idaho.

The workshop is limited to 20 participants who will attend classes, manage a small herd of cattle, and solve a variety of field problems in teams of 4-5.  Continental breakfast and snacks are available daily, as well as a catered lunch and supper, with after supper activities to reinforce principles taught during the day.

The Academy was first held in 1994 in the Lost River Valley, and has been held at least once annually for the last 14 years.  The program has won state and national awards for Extension programs and is has been recognized internationally.  It has been attended by agency personnel and livestock operators from all over the western US, as well as from eastern US, Canada, Mexico and South America.

(includes continental breakfasts, lunches, suppers, breaks, one set of materials per ranch or farm, plus evening presentations):
-Per Person $550
-Per Ranch or Farm team $550, plus $450 for each additional team member. (1 set of materials.)
Day Time: $175 for any day or part of day
Alumni: $350 (no materials)
Additional Materials: $125 per set

For More Information:

Scott Jensen at 208-896-4104 in Marsing
Chad Cheyney at 208-940-0222 or in Arco

Local agricultural businesses get on the map is a new an online guide to local Boundary County producers that helps potential customers locate produce including fresh and dried flowers, raw milk and milk products, locally grown and ground flour, worm castings, fresh fruit, dried fruit, fresh produce and more!

The map in the first link below shows locations for each local producer. Click on the red balloon for more information! In the second link below, each farm is listed alphabetically, along with the information the farm has provided in terms of products, visiting hours, and location. If you’d like your farm to be included in this list, please download this form and return it to Kate Painter at the Boundary County University of Idaho Extension Office, PO Box 3235, Bonners Ferry, ID 83805. For more information, email or call 208-267-3235.*+from+1gjY7uM8BefRh1vtoIVY-g5AX8HFdw3mrGHwEi7Bv&tmplt=4&cpr=1>

June 2017 Markets and Economic Update

Today’s wheat prices are slightly improved over 2016’s dismal $3.85 per bu national average price. Nationally, U.S. wheat planted acres are down about 25% compared to 2016, and the national yield forecast of 48.9 bu per acre is more in line with average production. In 2016, the U.S. had a record-high production of 55.3 bu per acre. Season average farmgate wheat prices for 2017 are projected to be $3.90 to $4.70 per bu.

High protein wheat supplies are predicted to be tight, resulting in high premiums for high protein and high discounts for low protein. University of Idaho researchers are advising growers to optimize their nitrogen levels with spring foliar applications to avoid penalties for low protein! 

With the current forecast for low grain prices, non-wheat crops including Austrian winter peas (AWP) and garbanzos (G) are among the  profitable this fall. Spring peas, spring barley, and spring canola are predicted to be quite unprofitable this year (Fig. 1). Price and yield assumptions for the net returns calculations in Fig. 1 are listed in Table 1.

Fig. 1. Estimated 2017 net returns over total costs for northern Idaho crops

  Table 1. 2017 crop yield and price estimates for northern Idaho

Net returns over total costs for winter wheat (WW) are predicted to be $29 per acre, assuming a yield of 90 bu per acre and a port price of $5.06 per bu. Returns for soft white spring wheat (SWSW) are predicted to be -$9 per acre, with a price assumption of $5.06 per bu and a yield assumption of 65 bu per acre. At 65 bu per acre, the break-even price per bu would be $5.21. On the other hand, net returns for some less commonly produced crops for this region are quite profitable, with the highest net returns forecast for Austrian winter peas, at $115 per acre, assuming a 2000 lb yield and a price of $0.25 per lb. Garbanzos are also forecast to be quite profitable, returning $97 per acre with a yield of 1400 lb per acre and a port price of $0.36 per lb. A detailed spreadsheet with cost and returns for each crop is available here. For a printer-friendly version, click here.

How to get a perfect lawn

lovely lawn

A beautiful lawn doesn’t have to be terribly difficult. Following some basic rules for watering, mowing, and fertilizing will take you a long way toward achieving a good-looking lawn. If your lawn needs to be rejuvenated, there are some excellent resources for doing that in this presentation. Renting specific machinery or hiring a local contractor for heavy jobs like de-thatching can help you get results quickly. Personally, I’m planning to rent a slit-seeder this fall to overseed drought resistant, low maintenance seed into the poor areas of my lawn!



Local companies:

Kyle Cady
Pest & Weed Control
6908 Oak Street
Bonners Ferry, ID 83805
(208) 290-8398

Jack Zimmer
Pineview Horticultural Services: Seed, Fertilizer, Chemical Consulting
10188 N. Taryne St.
Hayden ID 83835

Online Resources: 

Center for Turfcare Science Factsheets, from Penn State University:

Sustainable Lawncare Information Series from the U of Minnesota:

Information from Washington State University on lawns:

Commercial site with excellent information:

Lawncare guides and references from Utah State University:


Northern Idaho Fertilizer Guide: Northern Idaho Lawns

Home Lawns
Publication contents include: starting a new lawn, grass variety characteristics for eastern Washington, seeding recommendations, lawn maintenance, disease, insect, and weed control.

Fine Fescues for Home Lawns in Washington