2017 Cereal School topics include low falling numbers, variety trial results, updates on pests and diseases

Kootenai Valley
Each year, the Idaho Grain Producers Association, the Idaho Barley Commission, and the University of Idaho sponsor “cereal schools” across Idaho.  These educational workshops provide an opportunity for producers to learn about issues in their region, including insect issues, disease updates, variety trials, weed control, economics, markets, and other important issues. This year’s school in Bonners Ferry included a presentation on low falling numbers, the worldwide supply and demand situation and other factors affecting current low grain prices, and a presentation by a nutritionist on maximizing nutrient intake from grains as well as common wheat misconceptions. A selection of presentations from this year’s event, held Wednesday, Jan. 25 at the Boundary County Fairgrounds, are available at the links below. Additional references from these presentations are also included linked below.

Kelly Olson, from the Idaho Barley Commission, provides an update on current issues and markets.

Results from the Boundary County Variety Trials are presented, as well as a discussion of low falling numbers (LFN). What is LFN, and how is it calculated? Which varieties were most severely affected?

This presentation covers pesticides for canola, including a discussion of current chemical control options for weeds, diseases, and insects, and discusses threshold levels for spraying. Part 1  Part 2

Current worldwide and U.S. market conditions are discussed in this presentation. In addition, costs and returns estimates for 2016 are compared to a 2011-2015 baseline.

Idaho Barley Commission’s website includes links to the current grain market report as well as upcoming programs throughout the state.

Information from UI Extension on North Idaho cereals, including variety trials and stripe rust, is available here.

Information on the UI Brassica Breeding Program can be found here.

Farm Enterprise Budgets for the 2011-2015 Baseline as well as 2016 Direct Seed Budgets are available here.



Beef School on Sat., Feb. 4, in Ponderay


The Bonner-Boundary Cattle Association (BBCA) is pleased to announce the 2017 AG Seminar-Beef School on Saturday, Feb. 4, at the Sandpoint Elks, which is located just north of Sandpoint on Highway 200 E in Ponderay.  This year’s topics include: Cow Size & Environment vs Feed Efficiency & Profitability; Using the New Breed EPD Profitability Indexes; Cattle Mineral Supplementation; and Easy To Use Computer-Based Cow Record Programs.  You can download the  program brochure here.

The event is jointly sponsored by the Bonner-Boundary Cattle Association, and University of Idaho Extension, with the financial help of numerous local businesses (please see the list of these businesses in the brochure).  You must pre-register so that we can make adequate preparations. There is a $15 registration fee.  Refreshments and lunch are included.  Please call Jack Filipowski at 263-7264 or email jack@fernridgeranch.com   by January 30th to pre-register.

Attendance is open to BBCA members and to the interested public.  We do encourage those of you who are involved in the cattle business and who are not currently BBCA members to consider joining us.  We can all benefit by your support and participation. Membership dues is used to provide 4-H and FFA support at the Bonner and Boundary County Fairs. Dues ($20) are assessed on a calendar year basis, payable at the beginning of each year. We also co-sponsor with the Cattle Women a $1000 college scholarship to a student with agricultural interests, provide assistance to members in need, and support other Ag based community activities.

The Bonner-Boundary Cattle Association is an independent non-political producer organization chartered as a nonprofit corporation in the State of Idaho.  The BBCA carries out education programs providing its members with information designed to promote effective cattle and land management and timely knowledge of local, state, and national public policy issues affecting the industry.  We conduct a public relations program to promote and increase public awareness of the beef industry by contributing to and participating in local community events. The association works for the common interest of its members and promotes a spirit of public responsibility within the cattle industry.


January 25 North Idaho Cereal School in Bonners Ferry

Palouse view
The Idaho Wheat and Barley commissions sponsor eight “cereal schools” across the state each January, providing free lunch and a half-day of updates on wheat and barley production in Idaho. The northernmost cereal school will be held in Bonners Ferry at the Boundary County Fairgrounds on Wednesday, January 25, from 8am to 1pm. Topics range from dietary benefits and misconceptions of wheat consumption to a discussion of variety trials and falling numbers issues. Pesticide recertification and continuing education credits will be available. For more information, download the flier. Call 267-3235 to register.

Gopher and Vole Control Tips and Techniques

pocket-gopher-overview-main vole-overview-main
Can you identify each one of these pests? Take a quiz as you go through the presentation.

Crop damage from gophers, voles, and ground squirrels is frustrating and costly. In this presentation, UI Extension Educator Ken Hart helps you identify which pest(s) are damaging your fields and crops, then presents effective techniques for getting rid of them. These pests can be so pervasive that you may need a combination of methods to reduce their populations and prevent further migration into treated areas. Some of these methods require a private applicator’s license as the products are labeled Restricted Use. Care must be taken to avoid poisoning nontarget populations, such as pets and livestock.

2016 Forage & Grazing School presentations include management intensive grazing, fertility, variety trial results, economics and hay preservatives

A day-long program for hay and cattle producers featured Idaho experts on topics including management intensive grazing, hay preservatives, results of alfalfa variety trials for North Idaho, managing fertility in hay and pasture ground, weed control and economics. Just over 50 attendees enjoyed the refreshments, lunch and door prizes provided by local suppliers, including Boundary Tractor in Bonners Ferry, Pape Machinery in Ponderay, Carter Country in Bonners Ferry and Ponderay, and The Coop County Store in Ponderay. Links to the presentations are below. Additional links to resource material are available below as well.

Management Intensive Grazing
Chad Cheyney, retired UI Extension Educator, Butte County

An overview of the concepts and methods of Management Intensive Grazing, or MIG, is presented by the founder of the Lost Rivers Grazing Academy, a 4-day intensive workshop for livestock producers. MIG is defined as a flexible approach to rotational grazing management that balances forage supply with animal requirements in order to increase carrying capacity and productivity while improving pastures.

Managing Grassland Ecosystems
Chad Cheyney, retired UI Extension Educator, Butte County

This presentation focuses on grass production, from physiology to thermodynamics to nutrient management through management intensive grazing. You will learn how rest periods affect production, and how to maximize grass production on your farm.

Alfalfa Variety Trial Results
Doug Finkelnburg, UI Extension, Nez Perce County

Performance of alfalfa varieties in dryland field trials as well as best management practices for small grains crop rotations including alfalfa production using glyphosate resistant varieties and non-resistant varieties are addressed.
North Idaho Alfalfa Variety Trial Entries and Results

Hay Preservatives and Innoculants: An Overview of Techniques
Glenn Shewmaker,  Extension Forage Specialist, UI

Effects of chemicals as drying agents such as potassium carbonate applied at time of cutting or organic acids and/or sulfate salts and amylase enzymes applied as preservatives at time of baling on composition, digestibility, and utilization by livestock for grass and alfalfa (Medicage sativa L.) hays are discussed.

Cover Crop Grazing Project Update
Ken Hart, UI Extension, Lewis County

Uses and challenges of cover crops to enhance soil health, as an alternative forage, and as a part of a dryland direct seed cereal crop rotation will be discussed. The talk includes recent results of on-farm testing and field trials.

Managing Fertility in Hay & Pasture Ground
Jen Jensen, UI Extension, Bonner County

Learn how to take a soil test and intrepret the lab results in order to maximize fertility in your hay and pasture ground. Management of fertility is also addressed for organic producers using animal manures.

Economics for North Idaho Crop Producers
Kate Painter, UI Extension, Boundary County

Current enterprise budgets for north Idaho crops that also include a grazing alternative will be presented. With today’s low grain prices, growing a rich cover crop mixture and grazing it may be competitive with other choices for your farm. Enterprise budgets include typical types and rates for fertilizers, herbicides, and fungicides by crop for northern Idaho growers.

2016 Enterprise Budgets for:
Conventional Tillage Grain and Rotational Crops, bulletin and Excel spreadsheet
Direct Seed Grain and Rotational Crops, bulletin and Excel spreadsheet
Grass Hay in Northern Idaho, Small Square Bales, bulletin and Excel spreadsheet
Alfalfa Hay in Northern Idaho, Small Square Bales, bulletin and Excel spreadsheet

The 2015 Forage School post includes additional presentations for North Idaho forage producers.

Additional Resources for Forage Producers:

A3637 Identifying Pasture Grasses

SARE website: Cover Crops for Sustainable Crop Rotations

SARE Handbook: Managing Cover Crops Profitably, 3rd Edition

PNW0614 Pasture and Grazing Management in the Pacific Northwest

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

BUL 901 Cover Crops for Grazing Use in Idaho

Intermountain Alfalfa Management, U of California, Publication 3366, 1997.

Garlic planting time!


Garlic is easy and fun to grow, but you need to remember to plant it from September through November. The roots will develop in the fall and winter, which will support the rapid leaf growth in spring necessary for developing large heads. Plant in a bed with full sun and good soil drainage. Plant cloves root side down, two inches deep and two to four inches apart in rows spaced 10 to 14 inches apart. Space elephant garlic cloves about six inches apart. Garlic can be lightly mulched to improve soil structure and reduce weeds. A single 10-foot row should yield about five pounds of the fragrant bulbs. Here are more tips on growing, harvesting, and storing garlic:

  • Fertilize garlic in the early spring by side dressing or broadcasting with blood meal, pelleted chicken manure or a synthetic source of nitrogen. Just before the bulbs begin to swell in response to lengthening daylight (usually early May), fertilize lightly one more time. Weed garlic well, as it can’t stand much competition. Garlic is rarely damaged by insects. If May and June are very dry, irrigate to a depth of two feet every eight to 10 days. As mid-June approaches, taper off the watering.
  • Remove the floral stems as they emerge in May or early June from hardneck varieties to increase bulb size. Small stems can be eaten like asparagus, but they get more fibrous and less edible as they mature. Don’t wait for the leaves to start dying to check for maturity. Sometimes garlic bulbs will be ready to harvest when the leaves are still green. The best way to know is to pull one up and cut it open crosswise. Start checking for mature cloves about late June. Harvest garlic when the head is divided into plump cloves and the skin covering the outside of the bulbs is thick, dry and papery. If left in the ground too long, the bulbs sometimes split apart. The skin may also split, exposing the cloves and causing them not to store well.
  • Dig, and then dry the mature bulbs in a shady, warm, dry and well-ventilated area for a few days. Then remove the tops and roots. Brush dirt off the bulbs. To braid garlic together, harvest it a bit earlier while leaves are green and supple.
  • Avoid bruising the garlic, as it will not store well. Store bulbs in a dark, dry and well-ventilated place. Protect from high humidity and freezing. Do not store garlic in the refrigerator because cool temperatures combined with moisture stimulate sprouting. Properly stored garlic should last until the next crop is harvested the following summer.

From: http://extension.oregonstate.edu/gardening/2015/08/get-your-garlic-primer-planting-growing-and-harvesting

Weed Spraying Advice for Lawns and Pastures

Fall is a great time to spray weeds around your home and in pastures! On September 21, 2016, David Wenk and Brad Bluemer, our Weed Superintendents from Boundary and Bonner counties, discussed strategies for effectively killing weeds, depending on the time of year and types of weeds you have. Here are their presentations:

Weed Control in Lawns, by David Wenk
Weed Control in Fields and Pastures, by Brad Bluemer

Am I Making Any Money With This Crop?


Here is the  lecture on this topic.

Here are some resources for calculating returns for dryland grain production in the Pacific Northwest:

Current Crop Budgets for Dryland Grain Production in the Pacific Northwest

High Rainfall Zone, >18” precipitation per year

Intermediate Rainfall Zone, approx. 15” – 18” precipitation per year:

Low Rainfall Zone, <15” precipitation per year:


Enterprise Budgeting tools: This poster explains how to use the budgets that are listed above.

Interview Forms

These forms (in Excel) help when you are interviewing growers with the purpose of creating an enterprise budget, or if you are trying to track information during the year for developing your own enterprise budget. You will have all the information you need for developing an enterprise budget if you have your completed schedule of operations plus all the data in the machinery complement. The Schedule of Operations is a list of all the operations for growing a particular crop or for a livestock operation for that year or growing season. The Machinery Complement is a list of machinery costs that you will use when you calculate machinery costs using the UI Machinery Cost program or another software. You will need to sum machinery costs over all machinery activies for that enterprise in order to create a line item in the budget for fuel, machinery labor, machinery depreciation, etc.

Schedule of Operations

Machinery Complement


Painter, K. 2011. Costs of Owning and Operating Farm Machinery in the Pacific Northwest: 2011. PNW 346. University of Idaho, 106 pp. http://www.cals.uidaho.edu/edComm/pdf/PNW/PNW0346/PNW346.pdf

Patterson, P., K. Painter, N. Ruhoff, B. Eborn. 2016. Idaho Crop Input Price Summary for 2015. AEES No. 2016-04, Dept. of Ag. Econ. and Rural Sociology, Univ. of ID. http://www.uidaho.edu/~/media/UIdaho-Responsive/Files/cals/Programs/ID-Agbiz/crop-budgets/crop-input-price-summary/Crop-Input-Price-Summary-2015.ashx

Website resources:

Crop Budgets and Input Price Summaries by Year:


Machinery Cost Calculators:

University of Idaho Crop Machinery Cost Calculator – current version 1.40 (EXE file) and other tools can be found at http://www.uidaho.edu/cals/idaho-agbiz/tools

Kansas State Machinery Cost Resources: Machinery cost calculators and many more decision making tools. http://www.agmanager.info/machinery

Iowa State Machinery Cost Resources: Crop decisions and machinery information and companion tools. http://www.extension.iastate.edu/agdm/cdmachinery.html

Alberta Machinery Cost Calculator: This tool allows you to calculate ownership and operating costs of common farm equipment. Use the drop-down list to choose the power unit or self-propelled machinery that will be used. When doing calculations for implements, select both a power unit and the implements that will be used. http://www.agric.gov.ab.ca/app24/costcalculators/machinery/getmachimpls.jsp

Bruce Anderson’s Forage Advice: Damage from Disc Mowers and Fall Control of Winter Annual Bromes


I like mixing alfalfa with grasses like orchardgrass, fescue, and festulolium.  Disc mowers are complicating my plans, however.

Disc mowers are fantastic machines.  Compared to sickle bar mowers, they cut faster, have less maintenance and repairs, and rarely plug.  They can cut the crop shorter and keep going even if they occasionally scalp the surface.  And that’s the problem!

With alfalfa, regrowth comes from crown buds using nutrients stored underground in the taproot.  It doesn’t matter if you leave a 1-inch or a 4-inch stubble, alfalfa regrowth rate will be the same.

Grasses are different.  Grasses depend on nutrients stored in the lower stem for early regrowth.  And some grasses, like orchardgrass, fescue, and festulolium that have very low basal leaves, they also use energy produced by photosynthesis in those basal leaves for regrowth energy.  So, cutting these grasses short results in much slower regrowth and a weakening of the plant because the source of energy to support regrowth has been removed.

In a grass-alfalfa mixture, the short stubble left by a disc mower delays and slows the regrowth of the grass while the alfalfa recovers at its usual rate. Pretty soon alfalfa gets several inches taller than the grass, forms a tight canopy, and shades out the grass growing underneath.  Before long the grass dies out and disappears.

Clearly, the solution is to raise the cutting height to around 3 to 4 inches like happens naturally with a sickle bar.  This is easier said than done, however.  First, you need to remember to leave a taller stubble.  And if working with a custom operator, it probably will require reminding that person of your stubble height demands.

Keeping grass in alfalfa when cutting with a disc mower is challenging, but it can be done.


Did you have downy brome, cheatgrass, or wild oats in your pasture this spring?  Although difficult, they can be controlled and your pasture revitalized.

Winter annual bromes often invade thin or overgrazed pastures in fall and early spring.  Livestock dislike grazing them, so over time they can take over and make large patches of pasture nearly worthless.

By far the most effective control method is to spray six to eight ounces per acre of an imazapic herbicide like Plateau as soon as possible this month.  This pre-emerge treatment will prevent most annual bromes from developing.

As we move into October, however, it is likely that some, or maybe a lot of these grass seedlings will have already emerged.  When this situation exists, add an adjuvant like a non-ionic surfactant or methylated seed oil to the spray mix for better control of emerged seedlings.

In warm-season grass pastures and rangeland, there is another option.  You can use glyphosate herbicides after top growth of these grasses has died due to a hard freeze or two.  This can kill emerged annual brome seedlings without harming the desirable grasses.  However, do not use glyphosate in cool-season pastures because it will injure or kill the pasture grasses as well.

These treatments may need to be repeated for a couple years to prevent reoccurrence of these weedy grasses.  But with proper grazing management and other practices, your pastures can develop thicker stands of the more desirable grasses.

It takes a long, dedicated process to recover pastures overtaken by winter annual bromes.  There are no shortcuts!


These tips are from  Bruce Anderson, Extension Forage Specialist, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Phone 402-472-6237

New On-Line Resource Guide to Local Farms & Small Businesses in Boundary County

online local food guide

Are you a small farmer, hobbyist, or business owner in BOUNDARY COUNTY? Would you like to be listed in a resource guide featuring our local suppliers? As part of our upcoming celebration of local foods (see below), I will be producing an online guide to Boundary County farms and businesses! It will be similar to this one in Pennsylvania. If you would like to be included, please complete this form and return it to me at mailto:kpainter@uidaho.edu.

FTT logo

Our Farm to Table celebration will take place at 6pm on Saturday, October 15, at the Boundary County Fairgrounds. The 5-course dinner features organic food from the GROW Community Garden as well as local beef, blueberries, peaches, and more, from small farms in Boundary County. This will also be a fundraiser for GROW, or Gardeners for Regional Organic Wellbeing, a nonprofit organization that provides organic garden plots at a reduced cost to community members, including a new selection of 30” high raised beds that make gardening more accessible to those with mobility issues. These garden plots are completely prepared for you, with fall applications of manure or a green manure, then tillage in the spring. In addition, if you rent a plot you have access to garden tools and expertise from the local Master Gardeners who maintain an herb garden there. If you would like to donate local produce or items for the raffle or silent auction, you will be listed in the dinner program. Also, volunteer help is welcome for the event!


GROW partners with University of Idaho Extension to provide gardening and pruning classes at its community garden location behind Trinity Lutheran Church on Buchanan Street. GROW also donates a significant amount of fresh organic produce to the food bank and senior center and occasionally operates a farmer’s market booth. Money raised for GROW helps pay for a part-time garden manager as well as utilities, garden tools, and the water system.