A large crowd of area producers and industry representatives gathered for the North Dakota State University (NDSU) Langdon Research Extension Center(LREC) Field Day where topics ranged from weed and pest control to the new up and coming crop options being tested at the center.
Posted on 7/30/16
By Melissa Anderson
“25 plus years ago we would get around 250 attendees,” Randy Mehlhoff, Director LREC, said, “However, the number of farmers has fallen significantly since then. We had between 150 and 175 folks attend this year and we are very happy with that.”
The morning had 10 presentations being given with the crowd separating to allow for simultaneous presentations. NDSU LREC Research Agronomist Bryan Hanson gave updates on his canola research projects at the LREC.
Hanson went over his data collection results over the past few years. Hanson’s research shows the effects of row width and seeding rate on agronomic traits of flowering, maturity, plant height, kwt, oil and lodging, were very small or non-significant.
At Langdon, the optimum combination of row width and seeding rate for net return was 6 or 12 inch row spacing seeded at 6-9 pls/ft.
LREC Extension Area Specialist on soil health, Naeem Kalwar, gave an update and recommendations concerning ground water management and his study. Kalwar recommends that those seeking to eliminate excess salts and sodium in their soils follow the practice of drain tile with prior or immediate application of a soil amendment. Kalwar explained that waiting to apply the soil amendment to address the sodium issue only makes it worse.
Cavalier County Extension Agent Anitha Chirumamilla addressed the audience about the most pressing concerns regarding insects that affect the main crops in the area. Chirumamilla mentioned the resistance and tolerance that the striped canola flea beetles have to the seed treatments. This is a concern as producers in the area have been seeing increasing populations of that specific insect.
Chirumamilla also informed the audience of the impact that diamond backed moths can have as well as Aster leafhopper which vectors Aster yellows disease in canola. Another insect mentioned and discussed by Chirumamilla was the Swede midge.
LREC Assistant Research Professor and Plant Pathologist Dr. Venkat Chapara addressed the audience regarding the diseases that are most concerning for canola and sunflowers. Chapara discussed the clubroot of canola pathogen and what can be done to hinder the spread and decrease chances of the disease within canola by practicing four year crop rotations in fields suspected or confirmed of having the disease. Chapara also discussed the assistance that native bumblebees give in spreading diseases amongst sunflowers.
Dr. Rich Hollinger and Dr. Kirk Howatt discussed problem weeds and how to handle them in the north-eastern part of the state. Both experts commented on the lack of weeds that they viewed on their way to the field day. Howatt discussed the benefits of using either granular or liquid herbicide and what option was best under certain circumstances.
Howatt also discussed resistant weed species and which herbicides would be best to use against those. Both experts expressed concern over the water hemp that could be making its way to the area.
Researcher Dr. Andrew Green gave an update on NDSU’s efforts with the hard red spring wheat (HRSW) breeding program. Green explained that the program is looking to create a balanced variety of hard red spring wheat that can be competitive on the farm and in the market. Green’s research is also focused on finding ways to rapidly develop and test experimental lines across multiple sites in North Dakota in order to include areas that have poor soil in the tests.
Legume Logic’s Richard and Cody Roland were present to give updates on the impact that faba beans could have as rotation crop in Cavalier County. The Rolands explained how faba beans were great option for farmers in Cavalier County as the crop handles wet weather, root disease and is a cool season legume much like peas. The Rolands also explained how faba beans could benefit the soil by putting much needed nutrients back into the soil.
Dr. Ted Helmes informed the audience about his research with soybeans and the breeding of glyphosate ready soybeans at public institutions such as NDSU. Helms advised that farmers pick their soybean variety based on soil type and also discussed the soybean variety ND Henson which is a non-GMO variety that shows resistance to root rot and iron-deficiency chlorosis.
The final topic of the day was presented by Dr. Burton Johnson regarding the continued research on the growing of industrial hemp in North Dakota. There are currently 70 acres belonging to five growers across North Dakota participating in the pilot program of industrial hemp.
Burton explained that industrial hemp is a highly useful crop with over 25,000 uses ranging from feed, food, and fiber.
The LREC is currently testing three new varieties from Canada. The Canadian varieties focus mostly on the grain aspect of industrial hemp, but growers and advocates would like to see the fiber of industrial hemp utilized more as it is the strongest natural fiber. This aspect of industrial hemp does pose problems at harvest time as farmers need to take the natural strength of the fiber into consideration.
The industrial hemp has an optimal planting time in May and, while there are no weed control options, the plants seem to be doing very well. The researchers noted that harvesting industrial hemp can be difficult.
Overall, Burton is pleased with the results so far in the research of industrial hemp and believes that industrial hemp “is a gleaming star for those in agriculture”.
Field days at the various NDSU research extension centers gives the staff at the centers and NDSU researchers in Fargo a chance to showcase just a few of the many research trials that are conducted each year.
“This really does help our research program in that we receive feedback on what the growers feel is beneficial, not so beneficial and possible new problems/issues they would like us to research,” Mehlhoff said.
Between grower feedback, North Dakota commodity groups feedback, and the LREC advisory council feedback the staff at the LREC are more confident in their use of resources in the most efficient way possible.
“Doing research on what the growers really want/need directly benefits their operation because they can employ the latest techniques based on research results to minimize those production problems,” Mehlhoff said, “Field Day also gives industry reps an opportunity to collaborate with their clients that use their products.”
Mehlhoff explained that industry representatives from seed to equipment are very aware that growers rely on the LREC research for data to address problems or opportunities. Growers rely on information found by the LREC research staff for various reasons one of which is that the LREC and NDSU are a trusted source for agricultural research.