I often think in the back of my head that as farmers we really are never doing things the way that we have always done them, mostly because I’m constantly reminded when I talk to non-farmers that is what they assume. I’ve written before about how farmers are always “Doing what we’ve always done – NOPE!”. Last week I had the privilege of attending a grass seed research roundtable at Oregon State University. This is the first year that one has been held here in Oregon specific to grass seed. The room was full with over 30 stakeholders and another dozen or so logged in through zoom. Another reminder to me about how forward thinking and solution oriented this industry here in Oregon continues to be; which I love!
If we’re honest I think we can agree that research isn’t the most riveting topic most time, but the set up of this roundtable allowed us all to hear a summary from the researchers, limited to 10 minutes; enough time to summarize but not get too deep in the weeds of research which can put even the most nerdy farmer asleep (no offense to those in research). Which was followed up by 5 minutes for questions from producers, seed dealers, field-men, and other researchers.
Topics included many of the pests that we are constantly battling in the field and other challenges that we face as producers and as an industry as a whole. Voles, billbugs, symphylans (research to help off set the gap in control that the Lorsban/chlorpyrifos ban left us with), DNA testing for seed, field residue and pre-emergent sprays, optical seed sorting, weed management and smart sprayers, crop stand longevity, straw management and what that means for our soil and carbon sequestration, nitrogen leaching potential, and on and on.
They say that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. It’s no different in the farming world. Sitting there last week was a continuous reminder that our industry is always changing, adapting and finding solutions. As a solution oriented person both in my personal life and in my farming life, this was all very exciting to me.
Now comes the tough part of ranking them all for funding; research doesn’t come free but the knowledge that we will gain from these trials will pay time and time again for this industry here in Oregon. Last week was just another reason I’m proud to be a grass seed producer here in Oregon.