Even the small and seemingly calm world of seed production is not free from controversial issues. There’s been a general failure in our society to achieve civil public discourse on matters of science and public policy. Winning the day at all costs trumps development of meaningful solutions to vexing problems. Unfortunately, winning the war of words is too often of paramount importance to activists and advocates and so truth and its scientific basis is often sacrificed in the cause of victory.
There are two lodging control agents (plant growth regulators) available for grass seed producers in Oregon. Palisade (trinexapac-ethyl) and Apogee (prohexadione-calcium) plant growth regulators (PGRs) are acylcyclohexanedione inhibitors of the 3-β hydroxylation of GA. The known effects of the acylcyclohexanedione PGRs currently in use on grass seed crops are as follows:
A resolution to the long-disputed prohibition of canola production in the Willamette Valley is near with the announcement that a temporary rule is set to go in effect on August 10th. The Oregon Department of Agriculture has determined that canola production will be allowed in specified portions of the Willamette Valley. A permanent administrative rule governing canola production in the region is expected to be in place prior to the expiration of the temporary rule.
Three closely related species of Festuca exhibiting fine leaf texture are commercially important turfgrasses and are known collectively as the fine fescues. These species are Chewings fescue (CF)[F. rubra L. subsp. fallax (Thuill.) Nyman], strong creeping red fescue (strong CRF)(F. rubra L. subsp. rubra), and slender creeping red fescue (slender CRF)[F. rubra L. var. littoralis (Vasey)]. While fine fescue species are morphologically similar in many characteristics, strong CRF and slender CRF produce rhizomes, but CF does not.
The stubble and straw remaining in grass seed fields after harvesting seed is known as residue. Post-harvest residue burning has been justified on the basis of pest control and stimulation of seed yield. Public concern over air quality and the potential for adverse health impacts on the region’s residents has necessitated the identification of alternative residue management practices. Recent Oregon legislation (SB 528) has, in effect, ended the practice of field burning in the state for most species except for the fine fescues. A better understanding of species-specific responses to residue management in the fine fescues will permit producers to choose the appropriate alternative practices should further restrictions become law.
The University of Idaho’s Brassica Breeding and Research Program put on an excellent field day on July 10th at the University’s Parker Farm outside of Moscow Idaho. Featured were several presentations by Dr. Jack Brown, leader of the program and plant breeder, and other members of the University of Idaho and Oregon State University faculty working on oilseed crops, including our own Dr. Don Wysocki.
Willamette Valley seed producers have endured yet another cold and wet spring. Seed growers are now looking forward to the pleasant dry and warm summer weather that area is well known for to aid in harvest and other field operations. This spring’s weather was both colder and wetter than the long-term averages for the locale. And this combination of cold and wet weather in spring is part of a trend that has been evident for the past four years.