High Residue Farming Workshop for Irrigated Producers

By Georgine Yorgey

WSU Extension is hosting an upcoming workshop on the basics of High Residue Farming on November 30, 2016, 9:30-3:30 in Moses Lake. Details for those interested in attending are available here (lunch included if you pre-register by 11/22).

Onion planting into strip tilled rows, wheat cover crop. Photo by Darrell Kilgore.

Onion planting into strip tilled rows, wheat cover crop. Photo by Darrell Kilgore.

High residue farming is a term that covers a number of different specific farming practices, including strip-till and direct seeding. In all these systems, the amount of tillage is reduced in order to maintain crop residues on the soil surface. High residue farming provides a number of benefits, but two key ones include reducing wind erosion (and the need to replant sand-blasted crops) and reducing the amount of time and equipment needed to plant. It can also improve soil health, increase the amount of carbon stored in the soil, and in some cases increase the potential for double-cropping.

Intrigued and want to learn more? You can hear about strip tillage from a farmer who has used it for many years in this video. And you can see the operations he uses for strip tillage in onions here. Continue reading

Growing condition analogues – Understanding future climate through past experience

By Kirti Rajagopalan and Sonia A. Hall

Though Appletown in this article is a theoretical location, producers sharing what practices work for them is a real source of information that can help others make decisions under uncertain future conditions. Photo credit: Scott Bauer/USDA, under CC BY 2.0

Though Appletown in this article is a theoretical location, producers sharing what practices work for them is a real source of information that can help others make decisions under uncertain future conditions. Photo credit: Scott Bauer/USDA, under CC BY 2.0

Weather is the most important driver of agricultural production. Year-to-year changes in the weather affect growing conditions, which then lead to important swings in yields, quality, timing and marketability of Pacific Northwest products such as apples, wheat, potatoes, and hay. In a similar way, changes in climate are leading to changes in growing conditions, and these changes also pose risks to production. Growing condition analogues are an approach to identifying and exploring past experiences that are relevant to understanding the risks expected in the future.

Over the years—and in some cases over generations—producers have refined their management practices to best address the complex interactions between the crops they grow and the wide range of growing conditions that determine the productivity and sustainability of their operation. These best practices are adapted to the local conditions and are continuously improved over the years, creating a rich body of location-specific agronomic knowledge. Continue reading

Request for Proposals from the USDA Northwest Climate Hub

Photo by Aaron Roth, NRCS. CC BY-ND 2.0

Photo by Aaron Roth, NRCS. CC BY-ND 2.0

The USDA Northwest Climate Hub is putting out a request for proposals (usda-northwest-climate-hub-rfp-fy17).

Contingent upon available funds the Northwest Climate Hub requests proposals to support our mission to serve farms, forests and rangelands in a changing climate. An estimated amount of $350,000 is available for approximately 5-10 projects. There are additional funds available (at least $50,000) to fund one proposal that is designed to assist the NW Climate Hub in serving Alaska, such as efforts focused on Alaska meeting its food security needs under climate change. The Northwest Climate Hub encourages applicants to seek matching funds from other sources that augment and leverage funds made available to support proposals through this Request For Proposals.

We look forward to your letter(s) of intent due 5 December 2016.

If you are interested in email updates on RFP news and other Hub news please sign up here on Google.


Holly R. Prendeville, PhD
USDA Northwest Climate Hub Coordinator
USDA Forest Service
Pacific Northwest Research Station

Climate Impacts to Water: Managing the Uncertainties of Water Supply and Quality Conference

Please join us at the Climate Impacts to Water: Managing the Uncertainties of Water Supply and Quality Conference to be held at Skamania Lodge in Stevenson WA on January 25-26, 2017.

climateimpacts-card_register-pic_page_1

If you are interested in giving a presentation, please go to cm.wsu.edu/climateimpactstowaterconference to view information about education tracks and specifics about submitting an abstract. Abstracts are due Dec 1, 2016.

Who Should Attend? Water users, water managers, researchers and innovators.

Focus The common theme will be creating a dialogue amongst the communities that use and value the region’s water supply within the context of a changing climate. Continue reading

Plants Respire Less than Previously Thought?

By: John Stevenson

Reprinted From: The Climate CIRCulator

Photo Credit: Oregon Department of Forestry, Some Rights Reserved.

Photo Credit: Oregon Department of Forestry, Some Rights Reserved.

YOU’VE PROBABLY SEEN the charts from the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii. For the past seventy years, the observatory has been monitoring atmospheric carbon dioxide levels (CO2). Along with revealing how this important greenhouse gas has grown steadily year after year, the observatory’s month-by-month data has also tracked an interesting season-to-season variation: CO2 goes up in the fall and winter and down in the spring and summer. The reason is plants. Continue reading

Nov 18: Urban Food-Energy-Water Summit

Woodinville, Wash. – An interactive summit focusing on the future of the food system in the greater Seattle metropolitan area will be held on Friday, November 18, at the Brightwater Convention Center.

"Envisioning the future of the regional food system" (photo credit: Liz Allen)

“Envisioning the future of the regional food system” (photo credit: Liz Allen)

Hosted by Washington State University (WSU) Metro Food Energy Water Seed Grant Research Team, the Urban Food-Energy-Water Summit provides an opportunity for the public to gain a deeper understanding of food, energy and water (FEW) interdependence in the greater Seattle area. A morning keynote address and panel discussion will be held from 8:30-11 a.m. and is open to the public. This will include presentations about research and discussions addressing the need for integrated natural resource management approaches. The panel discussion will be a forum for diverse stakeholders to share their perspectives on challenges and opportunities for local food and agriculture.

A by-invitation afternoon breakout session and luncheon will be held after the public portion of the Summit from 11:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Participants will discuss the various characteristics of resilient regional food systems. They will also assist in identifying future research directions that will support local decision makers when developing policies. Please contact Liz Allen if you would like an invitation to the afternoon session.

Those interested in attending are asked to RSVP at www.urbanfew.brownpapertickets.com. For more information about this summit, visit www.metrocenter.wsu.edu/metrofew-summit2016. To learn more about the Urban Food, Energy and Water project, visit http://metrocenter.wsu.edu/metrofew/.

Contact:

Liz Allen, lizb.allen@wsu.edu, 774-437-2819

Climate Modeling Series Part 5 of 5: Can we get a 2nd opinion? Why multiple models are key to understanding climate change impacts.

By Liz Allen

Wheat around the world. According to the International Development Research Center of Canada, wheat is the most widely grown cereal grain, occupying 17% of the total cultivated land in the world, and providing more calories and protein in the global diet than any other single crop. All photos © Creative Commons License for non-commercial use, clockwise from top left: Guillaume Bourven, wheat silage harvest, Finistère Nord, Bretagne, France; Sathish J. spring wheat, Steptoe Butte, Washington State; Ekaterina Sotova, wheat growing in Kuzovka, Russia; J.van de Gevel, Bioversity International, Farmers evaluating traits of wheat varieties, Ethiopia.

Wheat around the world. According to the International Development Research Center of Canada, wheat is the most widely grown cereal grain, occupying 17% of the total cultivated land in the world, and providing more calories and protein in the global diet than any other single crop. All photos © Creative Commons License for non-commercial use, clockwise from top left: Guillaume Bourven, wheat silage harvest, Finistère Nord, Bretagne, France; Sathish J. spring wheat, Steptoe Butte, Washington State; Ekaterina Sotova, wheat growing in Kuzovka, Russia; J.van de Gevel, Bioversity International, Farmers evaluating traits of wheat varieties, Ethiopia.

In the Climate Modeling Series, I have explored what you need to know to interpret and use models effectively (you can find the four previous posts in the series by searching “Climate Model Series” on www.agclimate.net). For this final installment, I’d like to use hot-off-the-press research of global significance to illustrate why, when it comes to climate change research, two or more “opinions” are better than one.

Published in September in Nature Climate Change, the paper “Similar estimates of temperature impacts on global wheat yield by three independent models” was authored by a large team of international co-authors, including researchers affiliated with WSU’s Department of Biological Systems Engineering and the AgWeatherNet program. They compared projections of global wheat yield under a 1°C temperature increase, and found that the models consistently project declining global wheat yields.

Continue reading

Extending climate change science: Can we learn from the Midwest extension lessons?

By Gabrielle Roesch-McNally,

Image from Sustainable Corn project that outlines recommendations for agricultural extension and climate change outreach to farmers.

Image from Sustainable Corn project that outlines recommendations for agricultural extension and climate change outreach to farmers.

Climate change is now being referred to as a “Super Wicked Problem”- a sticky wicket, a quagmire, a quandary- in other words, climate change is a complex social-ecological problem. Because climate change is such a difficult problem to solve, it is critical that we explore it from many angles and from the viewpoint of diverse stakeholder groups. This post focuses on one stakeholder group that is critical to include in efforts to develop and share climate change solutions across agricultural and ranching communities: University Extension. Many national studies have found that Extension is a trusted source of information among farmers, particularly when it comes to soil and water conservation decisions. Private agricultural advisors are also seeking out extension to provide resources on the topic of climate change. Continue reading

Insect Outbreaks and Forest Fires

 

By CIRCulator Editorial Staff

Reprinted from: The Climate CIRCulator

Ponderosa pine (orange) and lodgepole pine (red) killed by mountain pine beetle.  (Photo Credit: Washington Department of Natural Resources, some rights reserved.)

Ponderosa pine (orange) and lodgepole pine (red) killed by mountain pine beetle. (Photo Credit: Washington Department of Natural Resources, some rights reserved.)

HERE IN THE NORTHWEST, wildfires and insect outbreaks are two major forest disturbances that we’ve seen a lot of recently. As reported before in the CIRCulator, we are likely to see more wildfires and insect outbreaks in the future as our climate changes. But what has been most concerning is how two disturbances working in tandem could affect both the health of our forests and our economy. It is commonly assumed that future increases in insect outbreaks will lead to future increases in wildfire severity, but, says a new analysis, this assumption might not only be wrong, the exact opposite may actually be true. Continue reading

Climate Model Series (Part 4 of 5)– What We Know About What We Don’t Know

By Liz Allen

The author's brother moves an irrigation pipe in the Willamette Valley. Making management decisions amid multiple uncertainties is at the heart of what farmers do. Photo credit: Liz Allen

The author’s brother moves an irrigation pipe in the Willamette Valley. Making management decisions amid multiple uncertainties is at the heart of what farmers do. Photo credit: Liz Allen

Just how well can we model the impacts that climate change will have on agriculture in the Pacific Northwest? Simply put, there will always be uncertainty about exactly how the climate of the future will differ from historical patterns and what those changes will mean for farmers in the region. How accurately models can project future conditions is a big and complex topic. Discussions of uncertainty can quickly veer into fairly esoteric scientific and philosophical territory, leading to questions such as: What constitutes scientific proof? How can we account for inherent randomness within systems when studying the future? And, how useful are model projections when there is uncertainty associated with nearly every input variable? In practice, however, modeling is tremendously useful because it allows researchers and agricultural decision-makers to put bounds on uncertainty. Thus, modeling helps make plans for the future in spite of uncertainty. Continue reading