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Ag News | February 27, 2016

Ag News Roundup

Ag News Farmer Homesteader

 

Growing fruit trees with a minimal of work

Growing fruit trees is wonderful when you get a plentiful bounty. The usual work involved to keep a healthy tree – especially spraying - not so much. Steve Renquist, horticulturist at OSU’s Extension Service says research is providing easier ways to control pests and diseases.

“You don’t need to coach people nearly as vigorously as in the past,” he said. “Everyone wants to minimize spraying. Low input means it’s better for the people eating the fruit, better for the environment in the backyard, better for the safety of the pets and family running around there...”

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Wildfire hazards can be reduced with targeted grazing

Wildfires have been a severe challenge for livestock owners in the Western United States. Some recent land management initiatives look to lessen the effects of fire. Livestock grazing that is targeted in predetermined seasons, for specific length of times seems to be productive in reducing the chance of wildfires in those areas.

A recent study in the mountains of Arizona and New Mexico with low stress herding was used to measure the effects.

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Scheduling Vegetables with Degree-Day Models

Seed companies and local farmers are working in conjunction with OSU Extension in developing a degree-day scheduling website for vegetable growers. This new model, Croptime (http://smallfarms.oregonstate.edu/croptime), looks to predict harvest dates for a variety of vegetables.

The OSU team and cooperatives hopes to put at least 50 variety specific models as well as three weed models online by late 2016.

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Farmer in Eastern Oregon agrees to raise 30,000 cage-free chickens

Mahlon Zehr of Milton-Freewater, WA has signed a 10-year contract to raise a lot of commercial eggs – 30,000 - for a commercial production facility. Mr. Zehr finds that the demand is there for cage-free chickens. “The cage-free market is growing,” he said. “It’s what people want.”

With the chickens arriving earlier in the month, Zehr said they should start laying eggs in the next week or two. He expects to raise 8.5 million eggs over the course of the year. “It should be pretty busy here in the next couple weeks,” he said.

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Washington State Department of Agriculture holding gypsy moth Q & A

Several WSDA staff and entomologists will be featured in a panel of ‘Ask the Experts’ on questions about gypsy moths and their eradication throughout the state of Washington. The open houses will be hosted in several cities across the state. Gypsy moths have been an invasive threat throughout Washington state.

The open house can be attended in person or virtually via a webinar presentation where participants can submit questions and receive answers.

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