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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Recent Local Events

Check back here often for more local event updates from USDA-ARS Pendleton, Oregon.

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First Wednesday Lunchtime Seminar

    The First Wednesday discussion in August has been cancelled, as harvest is keeping everyone very busy. We will see you in September!

    The next First Wednesday Seminar will be September 7th, 12:05 pm. Come join us!

    Presenter: Jay Gibbs, NRCS Team Leader for John Day/Umatilla and Snake River Basins

    Title: A Discussion on CRP

    The Conservation Reserve Program has had a major influence on farming and communities in many areas. Many contracts are not being renewed. This raises serious questions about the best ways for putting these acres back into production. There are also questions on the potential pressure on land values, alternative uses, and how it will affect progress on soil erosion and habitat.

    Tell me more:
    Staff at the agricultural research station get together on a monthly basis to talk research findings, issues, ideas, and aspirations. We meet the first Wednesday of every month, from 12:05 to maybe 1pm, in the conference room, 48037 Tubbs Ranch Rd, Adams OR. It is informal, everyone is welcome, and you can leave whenever you need to.

    If you would like to receive e-mail correspondence about the First Wednesday Discussions, please e-mail Brenda Carlson (

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    Stewart and Bekah pulled large cores from a low-rainfall research site and placed them in a lysimeter study at the research station. Some of the cores were placed directly into plastic buckets, which will be placed in liners in the ground and weighed weekly to follow evaporation and capture of rainfall. One of the lysimeters was repacked with water potential sensors placed at several depths (photo) to monitor the movement of water. The lysimeter setup allows us to follow gain and loss of soil water in different soil types and under different surface residue amounts and tillage treatments. July 13, 2016.

    Dave Robertson and Caroline Melle collecting winter wheat bundle harvest samples from crop rotation research plots at the Columbia Plateau Conservation Research Center. July 11, 2016.

    Hero Gollany is monitoring soil carbon and nitrogen changes in six cropping systems in the GRACEnet, long-term no-till and conventional tillage experiments. Wayne Polumsky is taking the photo while Steve Umbarger is sweep tilling the fallow phase of winter wheat-fallow rotation in the GRACEnet plots. July 11, 2016.

    Each year, the ARS owned Case IH combine is taken off-station to harvest a few farmer-owned fields. The combine is equipped with GPS receivers, a yield monitor, and two optical sensors for measuring grain protein. Observers ride outside the combine to monitor the instruments. On July 6, yield and protein were mapped within a 40-ac winter wheat field near Pendleton. One of the optical sensors is sensitive to chlorophyll particles from green weedy material in the grain stream. This information is being applied into mapping infestations of Russian thistle, kochia, and other weeds that mature well after wheat is harvested.

    ARS scientists mounted an optical sensor on a combine to measure and map the seed oil concentration of canola as it was harvested over June 29-30. Shown is the Polytec model 1721 sensor on the grain bin filling auger in the grain tank of the combine. The measurements help with understanding how seed oil concentration varies across farm fields.

    Dan Long discussing on combine protein sensors with a producer inside the grain bulk tank. June 29, 2016.

    The scientists are also interested in knowing how much oilseed variation is lost when the harvested canola seed reaches the elevator. Here, a Polytec sensor is also mounted to the conveyor at the elevator. A measurement of seed oil concentration can be made each second. Batches of seed differing in oil concentration could be blended to a constant oil content and if that is possible, then a cold pressing operation could be optimized to lessen the loss of oil in the meal.

  • Hero Gollany was invited by Dr. Marlen Eve (USDA-ARS National Program Leader for Soil and Air) to attend and provide inputs to USDA-ARS Workshop “Collaborative Research and Data Networking - Leveraging GRACEnet/REAP Successes" at Ft. Collins, CO (June 14-16, 2016).

    On June 7, 2016 the principal investigators of a grant project held their annual meeting at the Tamastslikt Cultural Institute near Pendleton. The meeting included tours of field sites where research into oilseed performance was being conducted. Soil microbiologist Kate Reardon is shown explaining to the group how residues from the oilseed Brassica carinata suppress soil pathogens and impart rotation benefits to winter wheat.

    At the annual 2016 joint OSU-ARS field day, Dan Long describes how a relatively inexpensive optical sensor was modified to operate on a combine harvester to measure the protein concentration of grain during harvest. June 14, 2016.

    Kate Reardon presents at annual OSU and ARS Field Day, June 14, 2016.

  • Kate Reardon and Stewart Wuest present conclusions from a study of the effects different types of crop residue had on soil organic matter and soil microbiology. For soil organic carbon, most of the residues had little long-term effect compared to that of live wheat roots which increased the amount of soil carbon. While none of the residues had long term effects on the soil bacteria, changes in the fungal communities from sugar and wood amendment and grass cropping were persistent for 7 years.

    Stewart Wuest presents at annual OSU and ARS Field Day, June 14, 2016.

  • For the First Wednesday seminar on June 1st, Stewart Wuest and Kate Reardon discussed recent data on soil organic matter and soil microbial response to organic residues. The seminar was attended by staff, seven producers and two retirees.

    Caroline Melle prepares trays of soil for the erosion demonstration.

    Students participating in a soil infiltration experiment.

    Tami Johlke explains the importance of protecting soils.

  • Every year some of the Pendleton ARS staff present a field study to local sixth graders at Outdoor School during which students stay at a mountain lodge for two nights learning about nature and the great outdoors. The field study presented by Pendleton ARS staff is titled “Soil as a Natural Resource” and focuses on the importance of soil conservation and health. The field study provides students with the opportunity to participate in a hands-on soil infiltration experiment and perform a soil erosion demonstration.

    Hero Gollany hosted Dr. Diane Stott, National Soil Health Specialist in the Soil Health Division of USDA-NRCS. They are collaborating on CQESTR modeling and predicting soil organic carbon dynamics. Dr. Stott presented a seminar on the current status of U.S. soils and ways that the Soil Health Division is moving forward in efforts to improve the resource base, and discussed monitoring soil health of U.S. agricultural lands in response to grass-root efforts in soil health. May 4, 2016.

    Kate Reardon, John Williams and Stewart Wuest provided an informational tour of the microbiology laboratory and two field experiments for the Biology 353 Plant Physiology class from Whitman College (Walla Walla, WA) on May 3, 2016. Nine sophomores, juniors and seniors from Professor Arielle Cooley’s class attended the tour which was focused on farming practices, water limitation and the plant ecology and hydrology of the region.

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Tractor in field

Last Modified: 7/19/2016
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