With each successive year of funding for the Washington Oilseed Cropping Systems (WOCS) project, the amount of information generated by field, lab and greenhouse studies increases. The Extension and outreach members of the WOCS team are tasked with delivering that information in timely, practical and understandable methods to growers, industry, agency, and other university oilseed faculty and staff in Washington (WA) state. After seven years of funding, those efforts have expanded beyond WA to the Pacific Northwest (PNW) and other oilseed production regions of the U.S.
While outreach is conducted year-round, the largest event of the year is an annual oilseed conference held in January each year. A major change to the conference occurred following the 2013 Oilseed Production & Marketing Conference when the Pacific Northwest Direct Seed Association (PNDSA) requested to have a joint conference in 2014. As a result, the 2014 conference had a sharp increase in attendees, research posters, sponsor monies, and vendors, along with exposure of many attendees to topics they may not have previously considered of interest in separate conferences. Speakers from most major canola production regions of the U.S. and Canada as well as Australia provided a wide range of perspectives and expertise to the general and breakout sessions. The keynote speaker from Australia spent several days after the conference at WSU, UI and Montana State University with arrangements made by WOCS Extension that included a seminar at Pullman, lunch with graduate students and meetings with individual faculty.
Seven of ten regional breakfast meetings held during the winter months in Lewiston and Colfax featured an oilseed topic. Presenters included local oilseed growers, industry representatives and university researchers and graduate students. Average attendance at each meeting was 38. Field tours in May and June proved successful in attracting large numbers of attendees seeking hands-on and visual experience along with presentations about oilseed production by the host grower(s), WSU, OSU, UI, and USDA faculty. Topics included winter canola variety trials, fertilizer and weed control, blackleg, organic amendments, residue management, and unmanned aerial vehicles. A video was developed by WOCS Extension and CAHNRS Communications featuring footage from one of the field tours and posted on YouTube (300 views Aug. 14-Dec. 31). Feedback from attendees has been very positive in continuing both the breakfasts and field tours, with the suggestion of increasing the locations in 2015.