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

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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.

 

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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.

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

LRGA

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.

REGISTRATION:
Full-time:
(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 or-scottj@uidaho.edu in Marsing
Chad Cheyney at 208-940-0222 or ccheyney@uidaho.edu in Arco

Local agricultural businesses get on the map

BoCoLocal.com 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.

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June 2017 Markets and Economic Update

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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.

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

  Table 1. 2017 crop yield and price estimates for northern Idaho
T1_updated

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!

BoundaryCountyLawnCareClass

 

Local companies:

Kyle Cady
Pest & Weed Control
6908 Oak Street
Bonners Ferry, ID 83805
(208) 290-8398
kcpestandweed.wix.com
kcpestandweed@gmail.com

Jack Zimmer
Pineview Horticultural Services: Seed, Fertilizer, Chemical Consulting
10188 N. Taryne St.
Hayden ID 83835
208—72-7598
seedguys@frontier.com
www.pineviewhorticulturalservices.com

Online Resources: 

Center for Turfcare Science Factsheets, from Penn State University:
http://plantscience.psu.edu/research/centers/turf/extension/factsheets

Sustainable Lawncare Information Series from the U of Minnesota:
http://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/landscaping/maint/maint.htm

Information from Washington State University on lawns:
http://gardening.wsu.edu/lawns/

Commercial site with excellent information:
http://www.better-lawn-care.com/

Lawncare guides and references from Utah State University:
http://extension.usu.edu/yardandgarden/lawns/

Bulletins:

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

 

Save the Date: 2017 Variety Trials on June 22 Feature Results for Wheat, Barley, and Canola Test Plots


Please join us for the 2017 University of Idaho Variety Trials for Boundary County from 10am – 2pm on Thursday, June 22, at Houck Farms, 5285 Farm to Market Road, Bonners Ferry, ID. Variety trials feature dozens of the latest varieties of wheat (winter and spring), barley (winter and spring), spring canola and mustard. University of Idaho researchers will discuss disease resistances, herbicide resistance, and general adaptation to different growing zones and practices by variety. Hard red, hard white, club and soft white winter-wheat variety plots will be toured.

For canola and mustard varieties, UI Research Scientist Jim Davis will discuss variety selection and canola herbicide resistance packages, herbicide plant back restrictions, and management of canola insect pests. He will also give an update on blackleg disease and control in Idaho. Lunch is sponsored by Houck Farms and Monsanto. Please call 267-3235 to give us an accurate head count. Continuing education and pesticide recertification credits will be available. Call Kate Painter at 267-3235 or email her at kpainter@uidaho.edu for more information.

 

Stripe Rust Forecast: Potential for a Severe Outbreak This Year

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Note the yellow-orange urediniospores of stripe rust on winter wheat leaves in this image. Pustules are typically long and narrow, which differs from the scattered, individual pustules of leaf rust and stem rust.

Stripe rust is continuing to develop on winter wheat across the region, due to weather conditions that favor rust infection and spread. In Whitman County, Washington, stripe rust is about one month earlier than normal and similar to the severe epidemic years of 2011 and 2016. Growers should be scouting all winter wheat fields and may want to use a fungicide with their herbicide application if their wheat variety is moderately susceptible or susceptible, based on the rating in the Seed Buyers Guide. They should also treat their winter wheat if stripe rust is found on 2-5% of the plants in a field. Be sure to plant spring wheat that is resistant to stripe rust as well.

Additional rust updates will be released as the growing season continues and conditions change. You can find additional information on stripe rust, including photos showing rust percentage, under Foliar Fungal Diseases in the Disease Resources section of the WSU Wheat and Small Grains website.  Source: http://smallgrains.wsu.edu/stripe-rust/

For questions or comments contact Tim Murray by email (tim.murray@wsu.edu), by phone (509) 335-7515, or Twitter (@WSUWheatDoc). For additional information contact Dr. Chen at xianming@wsu.edu or (509) 335-8086; or Mike Flowers at (541) 737-9940 or at Mike.Flowers@oregonstate.edu.

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Regional Wheat Prices Lowest in 15 Years

wheat prices
Fig. 1. Soft white winter wheat prices at Portland, OR, expressed in 2017 dollars ($/bu)

Prices for No. 1 soft white winter wheat at the port of Portland, OR,  averaged $4.86 per bu in August through December of 2016, according to the Ag Marketing Service of the USDA. Correcting for inflation, average marketing year wheat prices in Portland have fluctuated considerably over the past 36 years. Wheat prices, adjusted for inflation, were highest in the early 1980s, falling from a high for the whole series of $11.68 per bu in 1980 and declining thoughout the 1990s. The lowest prices of the series hovered around $4 per bu in 2017 dollars in 2000 and 2001. In 2008, wheat prices spiked to $11.28 per bu (2017 dollars), then hovered around $6.80 per bu in 2014 and 2015, before falling by nearly 30% to their current levels.

These Portland prices do not reflect transportation expenses that farmers must pay to market their grain. For Bonners Ferry growers, transportation averages $1.45 per bu via truck or $1.25 per bu via rail.

In addition to low prices, growers were hit with additional penalties for falling numbers, which is a wheat quality test designed to test the presence of alpha amylase (AA) activity in the grain. Falling numbers are affected by both temperature fluctuations and precipitation patterns. Low falling numbers indicates high AA activity, which can be caused by preharvest sprouting or by temperature fluctuations during grain maturation.

With this wheat price, net returns over total costs for soft white winter wheat, a major cash crop for the entire dryland Pacific Northwest region, are estimated at -$82 per acre in a recent study (Fig 2). Soft white winter wheat crop is grown on over 40% of all acreage in the dryland crop producing region of the inland Pacific Northwest (USDA-NASS). While some of the non-grain crops were profitable, such as peas ($50 per acre) and chickpeas ($40 per acre), average returns per acre were negative for all crop rotations, with a rotation of hard red winter wheat, hard red spring wheat, and peas  being the least negative, at -$27 per acre. These results are part of a study that will be published by the University of Idaho later in 2017. Please contact the author at (208) 267-3235 for more information.

current crop returns

Fig. 2. Net returns over total costs by crop for the annual cropping region of the dryland Pacific Northwest, 2016 farmgate prices

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Snow Mold Could Affect This Year’s Winter Wheat Crop


Speckled snow mold (left) and pink snow mold (right).
Credit: smallgrains.wsu.edu

Snow mold can be a dramatic and devastating plant disease. In the Pacific Northwest (PNW), snow molds are important in areas where snow falls on unfrozen or lightly frozen soil and persists for 100 days or more. Four different snow mold diseases, all caused by soil-borne fungi, occur in the PNW: pink snow mold, speckled snow mold, snow scald, and snow rot. Pink snow mold is the most widespread of these diseases, occurring on wild grasses, lawns, and winter wheat throughout the PNW. On wheat, however, pink snow mold is less destructive than speckled snow mold. Snow scald and snow rot are limited in distribution and their overall impact on winter wheat production is minimal.

Snow mold diseases destroy the leaves and crowns of host grasses under snow. Following snowmelt, the leaves of plants with speckled snow mold are matted to the soil and covered with a whitish gray fungal growth. The fungal growth disappears after a few days of dry, sunny weather, and numerous dark-colored bodies the size of radish seeds known as sclerotia become visible over the surface of infected plants. Depending on the specific fungi, some sclerotia are round and dark brown to black in color, while others are irregularly shaped and reddish brown, occurring primarily on roots and between sheaths in the crown.

Immediately following snowmelt, plants with pink snow mold have a whitish fungal growth covering the leaves. The fungal growth soon turns a characteristic salmon color, resulting in the name “pink” snow mold (Fig. 3). Leaves and leaf sheaths with pink snow mold remain intact and turn a light to dark brown color, as opposed to the disintegration that occurs with speckled snow mold. Disease severity ranges from relatively small lesions on leaves to complete destruction of the foliage and dead plants.

Development of snow mold is favored by rain during the autumn and snow falling on unfrozen or lightly frozen soil that persists for approximately 100 days or more. Deep snow cover insulates plants and soil, maintaining temperatures close to 32° F with relative humidity near saturation, both of which are favorable to growth of these fungi. Deep snow also ensures contact between leaves and soil, thus allowing an entry point for the fungi, while at the same time preventing photosynthesis, which is thought to make plants more susceptible to infection due to a depletion of carbohydrates in the crown. Frozen soil, intermittent snow cover, or less persistent snow cover reduce the severity of snow mold.

The fungi causing speckled snow mold survive between crops as sclerotia in soil and infested host debris. Germination of sclerotia and infection of plants begin within one month after snowfall and continue as long as snow cover persists. Invasion of crowns and death of plants occur after about three months of snow cover; consequently, damage from speckled snow mold increases with longer snow cover.

The fungus causing pink snow mold survives between crops primarily in residue from previously infected plants. Infection of leaves occurs during cool, wet weather in the fall before and after snowfall. Fungal filaments growing from infested residue near the soil surface penetrate leaves and continue to grow in infected plants as long as the snow persists.

As the snow cover retreats and damage from snow mold becomes evident, the decision of whether or not to replant is difficult for growers. The wheat will look very bad as the snow melts and may even look worse for the first few days after the snow is gone. Cold conditions after snowmelt can further weaken the wheat plants. Warm conditions hasten the decomposition of the badly affected leaves. It takes two to three weeks for the stressed plants to show signs of recovery.

Severe snow mold years are generally good moisture years. The season is delayed, warming up later than usual, hence the long snow cover. Wait two weeks after the snow has left most of the field, then carefully survey the field. Small patches of dead wheat may not be worth replanting. Large acreage may require further consideration.

  • If the wheat is totally dead, then the replant decision is a little easier. There should be good moisture and fertilizer remaining in the field, although starter fertilizer may help as last year’s fertilizer may have leached a foot or two through the soil profile.
  • If there are more than eight plants per square foot on average, it may not pay to replant.
  • Four to eight plants per square foot require careful consideration. How soon can you work the field? What does the long-term weather look like, and how well does spring wheat normally yield in the field? What seed can you get? What price will wheat bring? Then comes the balancing act. Will the reduced yield from the damaged winter wheat cover the costs already invested in the field? Or will the costs of replanting and the expected increased harvest bring a better bottom line?

Excerpted from “Snow Mold Diseases of Winter Wheat in Washington,” WSU EB1880, by Timothy Murray, Stephen Jones, and Ed Adams. For more information, or to download the document, go to http://tinyurl.com/PNWsnowmold.