THE DALLES - How does tillage affect your soil? What signs do you look for to know how soils are changing? The Oregon State University Extension Service will explore those questions and more in a series of workshops focused on the rhizosphere and featuring Canadian soil ecologist Jill Clapperton.

The workshop series begins at 9 a.m. on Monday, May 16, at the Discovery Center in The Dalles. This full-day session will allow Clapperton and other regional experts to provide the background that will help land managers better understand the intricate relationships between soil quality conditions and tillage practices.

Clapperton is considered the guru of the rhizosphere, widely respected for her work on how soil biology and ecology interact with soil management systems to facilitate long term soil quality and productivity, according to Brian Tuck, OSU Extension horticulturist in Wasco County.

Pre-registration is requested by calling the Wasco County office of the OSU Extension Service at 541-296-5494, by May 12. A $10 registration fee will be collected at the door and does not include lunch. Lunch will be available for purchase at the Discovery Center Café.

The next three days will be spent on the road as local farmers and orchardists have the opportunity to examine soil conditions with Clapperton in their own production areas under different practices.

On Tuesday, May 17, participants will meet at 7:45 a.m. at the Auction Yard on Highway 197 in The Dalles. The group will caravan to meet Clapperton at soil pits in a Wasco County orchard, various wheat farming systems (no-till, minimum till and plowed) and an undisturbed site. The afternoon trip begins at 1 p.m at the Sherman Experiment Station in Moro and travels to sites in Sherman County.

On Wednesday, May 18, growers from the Condon area will have the same opportunity, beginning with a two-hour seminar followed by field visits to demonstration pits. This workshop begins at 9 a.m. at the Bill Jepsen ranch, along the Liberty School Road between Condon and Ruggs. The program runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., with a $10 fee to cover lunch and refreshments for the day.

On Thursday, May 19, the two-hour seminar will be repeated for Umatilla growers. The program begins at 9:15 a.m. at the Adams Community Center in Adams. There is no charge for lunch that day and reservations can be made by calling 541-278-5403.

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Brian Tuck, 541-296-5494