Monday, November 18, 2019

Reflections on a Career

It has been said that the average person will have three careers during their working years. That is to say three different paths of making an income for an individual or a family. My journey was different. I had one career that covered 43.5 years. And now its over.

After graduating from Oregon State University in 1976, I wasn't really sure where my degree in Agronomic Crop Science would take me. As it turned out, my family and I have gone from Western Oregon to SW Washington; then to South Central Idaho, followed by Central North Dakota. We finally landed in the Skagit Valley in Washington in 1990. Of all the places we have been, the longest duration has been in the Skagit Valley, the place we call home.

I can say that one constant in all this travel is that farmers are about the same from the West Coast to the Midwest. The methods of farming and the crops involved may be different but the farmers themselves are just as dedicated and driven. It has been my privilege to have worked with some of the best people in the farming industry.

As Willy Nelson would say: "turn out the lights, the party's over." Wishing all my friends and associates the best that life can offer.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Biology in Crop Production

On November 14th and 15th, 2018, the Pacific Northwest Vegetable Association held its annual conference in Kennewick, WA. What I found to be very interesting in this year’s presentations were two presentations on how bacteria operate in the soil as well as on the plants.

 The first was on the importance of soil-borne bacteria and fungi as they relate to soil structures, water movement, and plant development. It was very easy to understand that this soil microbe life force enables the soil to be porous enough to allow water and oxygen movement. Without these two components a plant would have a hard time living. Also, the presentation touched on the importance of having the bacteria act on soil nutrients making them available to the plant. It’s not just background nutrients that are made available but also the synthetic fertilizer that is added to the soil.  Having a healthy soil with a good biological population means you will get the most out of your fertilizer investment.

The other aspect of a strong soil biological system is how they can protect your plants from soil borne diseases. As bacteria colonize on your plant’s root system they take up the space where pathogens would like to be. This is called competitive exclusion. Basically, there are more good guys protecting the wagon train keeping the bad guys away.

There are also both bacteria and fungi that can actually kill some diseases.

Species of Trichoderma fungi are very effective in killing pathogens such as rhizoctonia, fusarium, and phythium. The Trichoderma fungi are often found in combination with plant growth promoting rhyizobacteria, PGPR’s, so plant vigor is enhanced while protection from pathogens is also taking place.

Ag Tech Services, LLC, has been promoting the use of PGPR/s for the past 14 years. Recently we have been using a bacteria/Trichoderma mix to suppress diseases with very positive results. Let us know if you are interested in trying this combination on your crops for 2019, by contacting us at