Friday, June 29, 2012

Idaho All Wheat Acreage Down 13 Percent

Planted acres for all wheat in Idaho are estimated at 1.28 million acres, down 13 percent from 2011, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service. Acres to be harvested for all wheat are expected at 1.22 million acres, down from 1.40 million acres the previous year. Idaho’s spring wheat seedings, at 480,000 acres, are down 25 percent from the 640,000 acres planted in 2011. Harvested acreage is set at 460,000 acres, a decrease of 160,000 acres from last year. Winter wheat seedings of 780,000 acres decreased 5 percent from the previous year. Harvested acres are expected to total 740,000 acres, down 30,000 acres from 2011. Area planted to durum wheat is up 36 percent from last year at 15,000 acres, with 15,000 acres also expected to be harvested for grain.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Global Seed Company, University of Idaho Agree on Novel Wheat Pact

The Idaho State Board of Education approved an innovative agreement between the University of Idaho and Limagrain Cereal Seeds, one of the world’s largest seed companies, that expands graduate education in agriculture and wheat variety development opportunities.

“This agreement is important to meet the needs of Idaho’s wheat growers and our ability to serve agriculture both in Idaho and in the Northwest,” said College of Agricultural and Life Sciences Dean John Hammel.

“We have had detailed discussions for more than a year with the Idaho Wheat Commission, Limagrain Cereal Seeds and others to make sure this agreement works for all parties,” said Donn Thill, Idaho Agricultural Experiment Station director in the college at Moscow.

Limagrain Cereal Seeds will contribute to research and education endowments for the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences to fund wheat-focused research and two $20,000 graduate-level assistantships annually.

The research endowments will help fund field studies by college faculty members focused on better ways to grow wheat on the Palouse surrounding Moscow, Thill noted.

A July 9 field day at the college’s Palouse Research, Extension and Education Center Parker Farm east of Moscow will offer wheat growers and the public a chance to explore the collaboration at the ground level with officials from the university, company and other groups. Hundreds of plots of Limagrain Cereal Seeds wheat varieties and breeding lines and those developed by the college will be on display.

“From the Limagrain Cereal Seeds standpoint, we’re really excited about the opportunity to partner with the University of Idaho and by extension with the Idaho Wheat commission,” said Jim Peterson, vice president for research for Limagrain Cereal Seeds at Fort Collins, Colo.

“We feel we bring some unique things to the table, a global germplasm base, some modern technologies and the opportunity to partner with the researchers and extension at the University of Idaho to really bring better information and better products to the growers of Idaho,” said Peterson.

He previously worked as Oregon State University’s wheat breeder and has strong ties to the University of Idaho, where his uncle Chuck Peterson, an agricultural engineer and biodiesel pioneer served as College of Engineering dean.

The Idaho Wheat Commission will participate in the collaboration in a formal advisory role. Cathy Wilson, the commission’s director of research collaboration, will serve as an ex-officio member of a joint university-company steering committee that will meet four times a year.

“My experience shows that where there is collaboration, there is opportunity,” Wilson said.

On Jan. 6 in Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter’s office, Peterson of Limagrain Cereal Seeds joined an Idaho Wheat Commission announcement of endowments that will total $2 million to support the university’s wheat research.

The agreement was previewed by the State Board of Education during its April meeting in Moscow.

The non-exclusive agreement between the university and Limagrain means the two will develop and market some wheat varieties together under the trade name Varsity Idaho. The company and university will continue to develop varieties independently, collaborate with other parties and market varieties separately.

The strength of the agreement, Thill said, is that it provides the university with a tie to the company’s vast collection of germplasm from throughout Europe and its scientific and marketing expertise.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Stripe Rust Update

Stripe Rust was confirmed in the Magic Valley with three fields of Brundage showing stripe rust infection south of the Kimberly exit off of Hwy 84. Upper leaves were infected, indicating the occurrence of a recent spring infection, not an overwintering event. All three fields were sprayed with a fungicide to control the infection.

Brad Brown, Extension Soil and Crop Management Specialist in Parma, has found stripe rust in spring wheat at the Parma research station. The infection was minor with less than 1% of plants infected and only one small stripe on any infected leaf. The wheat plants were past flowering and no control was warranted.

In Northern Idaho, Doug Finkelnburg provided the first report of stripe rust found Monday June 4 in Latah county on the Parker Farm, found at low levels in susceptible varieties. Forecasted weather for the upcoming week is for conditions conducive to the infection and spread of stripe rust all across the state. The weekend forecast is for a return to warmer than average conditions, which is not conducive to stripe rust development.

All other reports of stripe rust in southern and eastern Idaho have not been confirmed. There are several fields of winter wheat with yellowing of upper canopy leaves that have been attributed to root rot issues such as Rhizoctonia and Strawbreaker eyespot. This has been in heavily seeded, fertilized and irrigated fields where the lack of air movement and moist conditions have promoted anaerobic conditions at the base of the plant.

Extensive scouting by numerous people have not resulted in any additional stripe rust being found. Thanks to all those who have reported their findings!

Juliet Marshall Associate Professor of Agronomy and Cereals Cropping Systems at the University of Idaho, does not recommend fungicide application at this time, except for spring wheat varieties known to be very susceptible to stripe rust. If still practical, fungicides could be applied with herbicides. However, in general Marshall would not be putting on a separate fungicide application until stripe rust is confirmed in your area and you are growing a susceptible variety. The current threat has now moved to spring wheat. Winter wheat is at heading to flowering with very little to no visible disease.

Additional information and pictures are available on the Cereals Extension website for southern and southeast Idaho: