UI Kimberly R&E Center Hosts Field Day

Published online: Sep 01, 2021 Articles Hannah Ashton
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Source: Post Register

Mario de Haro Marti is making tea. It’s not black tea or green tea, it’s compost tea.

A University of Idaho extension educator, he is applying his brew to corn as part of a study researching the effect of different biostimulants on corn silage yield.

More than 45 farmers, marketers, industry representatives, graduate students and university scientists learned about de Haro Marti’s work Thursday as part of the University of Idaho Kimberly Research and Extension Center summer field day.

Visitors stopped at different trial plots to learn about tools for controlling weeds, best methods of potato storage, cover crops, irrigation techniques, potato virus Y, and new insecticides for common pests.

Todd Ballard, who farms near Kimberly, said it was a toss-up for his favorite part of the tour.

“It was all super interesting,” Ballard said.

Two trial plots focused on corn silage and cover crops. A common practice in the Midwest, it has never really been tried locally, he said.

U of I graduate student Kelie Yoho presented her research on the effectiveness of crop oils on potato virus Y management. The virus is transmitted by aphids and reduces the size and yield of potatoes.

Crop oils have been found in other regions to help prevent virus spread within a field. Her work aims to see if that remains true in the Magic Valley.

Yoho is also interested in establishing at what point during the growing season are the plants no longer susceptible to the virus.

“If we can do that, then it will inform us what we can tell growers about when to use crops oils, is it necessary to use them throughout the entire season or can we limit that to just early season when these plants are most susceptible to virus transmission,” Yoho said.

U of I extension weed specialist Albert Adjesiwor had multiple test plots including testing alternative herbicides for dry beans.

Farmers have relied on the same herbicides for years and that causes weeds to grow a resistance, he said.

Roundup is a popular option, however there is a possibility it will become banned in the future. In 2015 the International Agency for Research on Cancer released a study that said Roundup contains a chemical compound that is “probably carcinogenic.”

Some of the research being done is top secret. Erik Wenninger, U of I entomology specialist, is working with the chemical company BASF to test an insecticide for wireworm.

“They have some secret chemicals that I can’t even tell you what they are because I don’t know what they are myself,” Wenninger said.

The larvae of click beetles, wireworms feed on the roots of growing plants, which delays maturity. They can also destroy seedlings and reduce yields.