- Agronomic: wheat
- Crop Production: conservation tillage
- Education and Training: extension, farmer to farmer, on-farm/ranch research, participatory research
- Pest Management: chemical control, field monitoring/scouting, physical control
- Production Systems: general crop production
- Soil Management: soil analysis, soil quality/health
Ron Jirava, a dryland farmer, began direct seeding cereal crops in 1996 on his farm near Ritzville, which receives 11.5 inches of precipitation a year. While he has met with some success at stopping soil erosion, a compacted layer of soil has developed in his fields and Rhizoctonia root rot has left bare patches. Jirava will use his grant to test two pieces of equipment, a Noble sweep and a Case IH 2500 Ecolo-till ripper, to try to break the soil compaction, disrupt the Rhizoctonia and take care of some post-harvest weeds in the process. He will also compare chemical fallow against minimum-tillage summer fallow to assess the impact on Rhizoctonia. To spread his work load, he’ll also compare a mid November planting (dormant seeding) of cereals in a re-crop situation with normal spring planting in mid March. His overall goal is to address the economic viability of direct seeding and to see how it can be modified to be more profitable for farms in eastern Washington that receive less than 12 inches of precipitation a year.