Sunday, June 25, 2017

Into the PNW

 So last week I was on a Fertilizer Mission out to Oregon and Washington, or the Pacific North West (PNW).  On the flight from Minneapolis to Portland, I had a window seat on the North side of the aeroplane.  Good thing.  Here is a picture getting close to Portland. That is the town of The Dalles and the Dalles Dam on the Columbia River.  And in the background are two mountains that are former volcanoes. 
Here are the mountains.  That is Mt. Adams (12,280 ft) and Mt. Ranier (14,411 ft).  Quite a picture if I do say so myself.  They are on the Washington side of the Columbia River.
 And here is a closer up picture of the dam.  I didn't know at the time that I would stay there the next night (Tuesday).  Well not on the dam, but in a motel.  
 In fact, here is a ground-level view of it.  Not letting out as much water now as before.
 And here is another famous mountain, Mt. Hood.  It was on the Oregon side of the Columbia River.  I made Eric stop so that I could take this dam picture, and turned around and was surprised to see this mountain behind us.
OK, time to get to work.  I was working with Sales Account Manager Eric Collins this week.  One of the things we were looking at was AgroLiquid applications for Ryegrass.  We were in the Willamette Valley South of Portland.  It seems that this is the grass seed capital of the country.  The major grass grown is ryegrass (perennial and annual) with 234,000 acres. There is another 30k acres of other grasses like fescue.  There is a Retail Partner, Koenig Custom Application, that we did a grower meeting with, as reported here on December 15, 2015.  Well some of those growers that grew ryegrass seed were intrigued with the possibility of foliar applications of Sure-K on rygrass grown for seed production.  Well they saw increases of 20% or more.  So Robin Koenig is making more applications this year.  Eric and I visited several of these fields to see how they look as they are getting closer to harvest.  Eric moves in for a close evaluation.
But you don't really have to look too hard to see that these foliar applications are having a positive visual effect.  Can you see which sede looks like it is doing better?  Well hopefully it is right side where Sure-K + Micro 500 were applied several weeks ago. 
 This is looking back the other way.  So now the AgroLiquid Sure-K + Micro 500 application was on the left side.  Again, this is visual assessment, but this has shown big response in tests last year.  So hopefully this works out again.  
Now foliar applications of other potassium fertilizers are made to growing ryegrass.  But now with Sure-K, results like this should show growers that there is a new option.  The Retail Partner is very excited with the results and prospects, as are the growers involved.  This is a new market for AgroLiquid application. How many other new crops are out there waiting to be shown the benefits of AgroLiquid?  Well it's probably a lot.
And evidently in Oregon, ryegrass is not the only grass grown for some sort of consumption.  We didn't stop, so no jokes please.
 So this was a piece of equipment in Robin's yard.  What the heck is this for?  Well this is a Rubber Duk applicator built in Eugene, OR.  It is for spreading fertilizer in muddy fields or for application on crops in wet fields that don't want to be tracked up.  Love to see this in action.  Except for the dry spreader part.
We are also working with a researcher on these foliar applications of potassium and micronutrients on ryegrass.  Here is a view of the plot area.  You know it's research from all of the flags.  
 One thing that is common practice of ryegrass seed producers is application of the plant growth regulator Palisade.  It helps to keep the plant standing up. This is a section adjacent to the plots that did not get a Palisade application.  Evidently you want it standing longer, and it does lay over after the heads get heavy with seed.  I've seen Palisade used on wheat, but the effects are not near so dramatic.
So we will have harvest results from these tests later in the year.  But It was fun to see a new crop for me.