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Stripper Header and Direct Seeding: Ron and Andy Juris

Stripper Header and Direct Seeding: Ron and Andy Juris

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Georgine Yorgey, Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources, Washington State University, Kristy Borrelli, Pennsylvania State University Extension, Kathleen Painter, Department of Agricultural Economics & Rural Sociology, University of Idaho, Hilary Davis, Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology, University of Idaho

Ron and Andy Juris farm in Bickleton, Washington, in an area receiving about 8–12 inches of annual precipitation. In this publication, the Jurises discuss their use of a stripper header for conserving standing residue, as well as their use of direct seeding.

This case study is part of the Farmer-to-Farmer Case Study project, which explores innovative approaches regional farmers are using that may increase their resilience in the face of a changing climate.

Information presented is based on growers’ experiences and expertise and should not be considered as university recommendations. Mention of trade names or commercial products is solely for the purpose of providing specific information and does not imply recommendation or endorsement. Grower quotes have been edited slightly for clarity, without changing the meaning.

Readers interested in other case studies in this series can access them at on the REACCH website, as well as in the WSU Extension Learning Library.

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Photo: Matt Ziegler
Location: Bickleton, WA

Average Annual Precipitation: 8–12 inches

Cropping System: Primarily soft white and hard red spring wheat, with occasional winter wheat when conditions allow. Small amounts of dryland alfalfa (500 acres) and forage grains (124-250 acres).

Watch the companion video, The Stripper Header: Ron and Andy Juris, introducing Ron and Andy Juris and describing the major benefits and challenges they have experienced using a stripper header.

Map: Kaelin Hamel-Rieken, Washington State University

Introduction

Ron and Andy Juris are third and fourth generation farmers in an operation that began in 1930. Together, this father and son team farm about 4,800 acres on the western fringe of the Horse Heaven Hills in Bickleton, WA. The farm has a short growing season due to its location on a high plateau (3,000 feet), and is in one of the driest wheat-producing regions in the world (Schillinger and Young 2014). Shallow silt loam soils (30 to 36 inches) further limit available soil moisture and present a high risk of erosion (Figure 1). Average annual precipitation is quite variable across their farm, ranging from 12 inches near the town of Bickleton down to 8 inches or less in fields that are further to the east.

Figure 1. The land that Ron and Andy Juris farm is defined by low rainfall and shallow soils, as well as oddly shaped fields (note the un-farmed areas in the background). Photo: Matt Ziegler.

To cope with these challenges, the Jurises have adopted a range of creative strategies and a unique farming perspective. Among recent changes, they have purchased a lower disturbance drill that can penetrate high residue levels, and a stripper header for their combine. The stripper header utilizes stainless steel “fingers” that rotate in a backwards direction in front of an auger, while the combine moves forward. Instead of cutting the wheat plant, the stripper header catches the heads of wheat and strips the kernels off, throwing them into the auger. This harvest method leaves almost all crop residues standing in the field (Figure 2). In contrast, a traditional header cuts the wheat, threshes the grain, and leaves the cut straw on the ground.

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Issued by Washington State University Extension and the U.S. Department of Agriculture in furtherance of the Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914. Extension programs and policies are consistent with federal and state laws and regulations on nondiscrimination regarding race, sex, religion, age, color, creed, and national or ethnic origin; physical, mental, or sensory disability; marital status or sexual orientation; and status as a Vietnam-era or disabled veteran. Evidence of noncompliance may be reported through your local WSU Extension office. Trade names have been used to simplify information; no endorsement is intended.