Category Archives: Event Announcements

Announcement: Webinar on Climate Tools for Specialty Crop Growers

Monday September 23rd, 11–noon PT

Join the USDA Northwest Climate Hub online Sept. 23 from11 a.m.-noon PT to learn about the Future Crop Suitability Tool and Climate Mapper (available at http://www.climatetoolbox.org) that can assist tree/shrub fruit growers (almonds, apples, blueberries, and cherries) with future location and management decisions.

Here is some information about each tool:

The Specialty Crop Suitability Tool provides mapped and graphical summaries of the climatic suitability for cultivating selected tree/shrub specialty crops across the Northwest. The phenology-based tool focuses on temperature requirements and limitations for crop development, and provides information on how often climatic conditions are suitable for crop success and what the limiting factors for success may be. It provides this information for two future time periods and two future climate scenarios using the average output across 20 global climate models. The mapping and graphical interface, along with extensive documentation, allows users to explore the intersection of climate and perennial agriculture in the Northwest and may aid in agricultural management decisions such as site or cultivar selection.

The Climate Mapper Tool allows users to access a series of maps that display climate information across the U.S., covering both recent and future time periods. The mapping interface not only provides climate variables, but also variables pertinent to agricultural systems. The dynamic mapping interface provides a straightforward way for decision-makers and scientists to visualize climate information.

The webinar will provide an overview of what the tools can (and cannot) tell you, and Drs. John Abatzoglou (University of Idaho Climatology Lab) and Lauren Parker (USDA California Climate Hub) will guide you through examples of how to use them.

Register for the webinar here: https://go.unl.edu/hhm5

Dr. Lauren Parker, California Climate Hub

Dr. John Abatzoglou, University of Idaho Climatology Lab

Announcement: Finnriver Farm and Cidery Farmwalk

Farmwalk (text)

WSU Food Systems Program and Tilth Alliance have been collaboratively presenting the FARMWALK series for 15 years! These farmer-to-farmer educational events are hosted on innovative farms throughout Washington State. Check out our latest offering below!

Saturday  –  December 8th – 10am – 3pm

Finnriver Farm and Cidery
Chimacum, WA

Basics of Biochar: On-Farm Kiln and Soil Amendment Options

Register Now!

Continue reading

OneNOAA CSSR series

Beginning Thursday, July 12 at 9:00 am Pacific Standard Time – and occurring weekly at that time through Tuesday, August 28 – the OneNOAA seminar series will be hosting an 8-part suite of talks on different aspects of the National Climate Assessment 4 Volume I – the Climate Science Special Report.  This is a fantastic opportunity to learn about the latest climate science from some of the nation’s most eminent scientists!

  • Thurs, July 12: Climate Science: What’s New? – Katharine Hayhoe (Texas Tech University)
  • Thurs, July 19: Detection and Attribution of Climate Change from the CSSR – U.S. Perspective – Tom Knutson (NOAA-GFDL)
  • Thurs, July 26: Droughts, Floods, and Wildfire – Michael Wehner (DOE-LBNL)
  • Thurs, Aug 2: Climate Potential Surprises – Compound Extremes and Tipping Elements – Radley Horton (Columbia University / Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory)
  • Thurs, Aug 9: Climate Long-Term Climate Mitigation Perspectives and the 2°C Objective – Ben DeAngelo (NOAA)
  • Thurs, Aug 16: The Causes and Consequences of a Rapidly Changing Arctic – Patrick Taylor (NASA-Langley Research Center)
  • Thurs, Aug 23: Climate Tidings of the Tides – Billy Sweet (NOAA)
  • Tues, Aug 28: The Fourth U.S. National Climate Assessment: An Overview of Volume 1 – Don Wuebbles (University of Illinois)

Webinar Announcement June 1st: Building Rangeland Resilience Case Studies

Matt Reeves USFS Rocky Mountain Research Station and Georgine Yorgey Washington State University will present Case Studies to Build Rangeland Resilience

Cow-calf operators, the primary users of rangeland resources throughout the Pacific Northwest, will need to adapt to a range of future stressors, including those that are climate-related. A critical aspect of preparing for the future is understanding past vegetation performance and management responses. Learning from successful techniques for dealing with extended drought or reduced forage conditions can add insight to the future. Thus, as part of this project, we use case studies to quantify decadal trends and inter-annual variability for rangelands to aid managers and producers in planning for the future. We also profile forward-thinking grazers to provide stakeholder-centered and science-driven insights into their management practices to enhance resilience.

Friday, June 1, 2018  1 pm Eastern/12 pm Central/ 11 am Mountain/ 10 am Pacific
The presentation will follow an update on USDA Forest Service and Climate Hub activities

To join the webinar:
Step 1: For audio, dial: 1-888-844-9904 and use access code: 3847359
Step 2: Web Login: https://usfs.adobeconnect.com/sfmr-500/

 

 

How will climate change affect pests of inland Pacific Northwest cereal systems?

By Karen Hills

Models suggest that climate change in our region will involve an annual temperature increase of 3-4°F by the 2050’s, accompanied by changes in precipitation patterns, including drier summers despite a 5-15% increase in annual precipitation (Kruger et al. 2017). Even with this information, uncertainty still exists about what climate change will mean for agriculture, in general, and for dryland farming systems in our region, in particular. The book Advances in Dryland Farming in the Inland Pacific Northwest, does its part to help managers make decisions despite this uncertainty. Continue reading

Tillage– When Less Is More

By Karen Hills

Figure 1. Two spadesful of soil, showing different levels of soil aggregation, in conventional and reduced tillage. Soil aggregation is one measure of soil quality. (Source: Bista et al. 2017; Photo credit: R. Ghimire)

Though severe erosion can quickly deplete topsoil, rebuilding topsoil is an extremely difficult and slow process, so conserving this resource is imperative. Soil erosion is one of the biggest challenges in agricultural production in the inland Pacific Northwest. Conventional tillage can lead to soil degradation and erosion by wind and water, which can cause concerns for air and water quality, respectively. Conservation tillage—a tillage system which retains residues from the previous crop on the surface, resulting in at least 30% coverage of the soil surface after the planting of the next crop—can dramatically reduce soil erosion. It also offers other benefits, such as improvements in soil quality (Figure 1) and reduced fuel use, allowing it to be widely adopted in some parts of the region. There are many types of conservation tillage used in the Pacific Northwest, which offer different levels of protection of the soil, all the way up to no-till, which results in minimal soil disturbance and maximum retention of soil residue. Continue reading

Variability and Scale: Considerations for Precision Agriculture

By Karen Hills

It is human nature to be entranced by the latest electronic gadget that is promised to make our lives easier. Sometimes gadgets really do help us, and other times this help is counterbalanced by the hours spent trying to troubleshoot when things go wrong. Because I’m not really a “gadget person” by nature, I must admit that I hadn’t paid a whole lot of attention to precision agriculture during my time working in the world of agricultural research. However, I recently had the opportunity to learn more about this topic while helping to compile and edit the book Advances in Dryland Farming in the Inland Pacific Northwest. By reading the chapter on Precision Agriculture co-authored by Bertie Weddell, Tabitha Brown, and Kristi Borrelli, I learned about some of the most important factors to consider when it comes to the use of precision agriculture technology: variability and scale. Continue reading

Diversification where it isn’t easy: Beyond the grain-fallow rotation

By Karen Hills

Diversifying crop rotations is a key strategy used to break pest and disease cycles and improve yields. But in the driest areas of the Pacific Northwest the low precipitation amounts limit the diversification strategies that are feasible. These areas have some of the least diverse cropping systems in the region, often with winter wheat as the only crop. In areas receiving less than 16 inches of precipitation a year, that are generally too dry to support annual cropping, producers rely on summer fallow to retain winter precipitation in the soil profile. Areas where over 40% of the land a given year is fallowed are classified as grain-fallow cropping systems. From 2007 to 2014, only 4.3% of these areas, on average, were planted to another crop besides winter wheat (Kirby et al. 2017). What opportunities exist for diversifying crop rotations in these low diversity areas? In my work compiling the recently published Advances in Dryland Farming in the Inland Pacific Northwest, I learned one answer to this question: winter peas. Continue reading