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Collaboration with Northwest Agriculture & Forestry University in China

Biological Systems Engineering faculty members, Dr. Troy Peters, Dr. Bin Yang, and Dr. Lav Khot, recently traveled to China to collaborate with faculty, students, and scientists at the Northwest Agriculture and Forestry University in Yangling, China.  This is part of an international cooperation partnership that the Department of Biological Systems Engineering Department has with this university.  The primary objectives of this visit were to strengthen international exchange and cooperation with this university and encourage additional Chinese Scholarship Exchange students to come do research with WSU in the future.  They met with the Dean of the College of Mechanical and Electronic Engineering, Dr. Shaojin Wang, toured the college and gave presentations to almost 200 students and faculty there.  Dr. Peters gave a presentation titled “Irrigation Issues and Advances in the Pacific Northwestern United States,” Dr. Khot gave a presentation titled “Precision Agriculture of Specialty Crops,” and Dr. Yang gave a presentation titled “Overcoming the Challenges of the Next Generation of Biofuels and Bioproducts Production.” In addition, each faculty member met individually with researchers from their specific areas to discuss plans for future collaboration and exchange of ideas.

On the way home, Dr. Peters and Dr. Khot also visited Hebei University in Baoding (hosted by Dr. Yongsheng Si). They similarly met scientists and engineers there, gave presentations and discussed plans for cooperation and collaboration for future grant proposals and research.

WSU secures more than $1.5 million for specialty crop research

Oct 2017  | CAHNRS NEWS

Seven research teams at Washington State University will enhance the competitiveness of Northwest crops by fighting devastating diseases and advancing sustainable agriculture, thanks to more than $1.5 million in Specialty Crop Block Grant funds from the Washington State and the U.S. Departments of Agriculture.

To support Washington’s $3 billion apple and pear industry, its $734 million potato industry, and other important crops like fresh strawberries, cut peonies and cider apples, WSU crop scientists, engineers, plant pathologists, economists and other specialists will join forces.

BSYSE Faculty
Dr. Pius Ndegwa

Enhanced nutrients for sustainable farming

Specialty crop farmers commonly use manure to fertilize their soils. But manure can be bulky, costly to transport, and may also bring pathogens, weed seeds and a poor balance of nutrients for some crops.

Pius Ndegwa, associate professor in the Department of Biological Systems Engineering, and WSU researchers will investigate the economic, agronomic and food safety benefits of concentrating manure and compost. Pelleting and blending manure with other products, such as canola or fish meals, could concentrate nutrients, kill pathogens and weed seeds, and make transport easier.

 

BSYSE Faculty
Dr. Sindhuja Sankaran
BSYSE Faculty
Dr. Lav R. Khot

New tech to stop potato storage losses

Washington is a major potato producer, yet storage losses after harvest can ruin up to 6 percent of the annual crop.

Researchers Sindhuja Sankaran and Lav Khot, both in the WSU Department of Biological Systems Engineering, partnering with Brenda Schroeder of the University of Idaho Department of Entomology, Plant Pathology and Nematology, will research new ion mobile spectrometry and nanofiber chemical sensor technologies to detect storage diseases like pythium and soft rot at early stages. Growers will be able to better manage bulk storage and reduce losses through early processing. The technology could also be adapted for other specialty crops, like onions.

 

[ full article in CAHNRS NEWS ]

WSU Faculty, Dr. Lav Khot, Presents at 2017 APS Annual Meeting in San Antonio

Dr. Lav R. Khot
State-of-the-art on Sensing Technologies for Plant Disease Detection

Lav Khot, Assistant Professor,
Department of Biological Systems Engineering
IAREC, Washington State University

APS Annual Meeting 2017 website headerBrief description: Site-specific disease detection is one of the key aspects of effective crop (loss) management. Recent advances in detectors (optical, chemical) have improved feasibility of development and use of rapid non-contact/nondestructive sensing techniques in plant diseases detection. Advances in versatile ground-, aerial-platforms, and internet of things (IOT)-enabled data acquisition, in-field onboard processing, and near-real-time delivery techniques have also helped in easing logical concerns, about time and labor, of field level crop scouting. This talk will thus focus on state-of-the art in the field of chemical and optical sensors, platforms (e.g. small and mid-sized unmanned aerial systems), and IOT based technologies that could be an aid in rapid disease detection. Through case studies in specialty crops, the talk will discuss the feasibility of the technology in field level disease detection as well as challenges that need further research before its commercial use.

[ more information about the Annual Meeting ]

 

Washington State Professor Finds Sky-high Opportunities for Drones in Agriculture

February 27, 2017  |  Washington Farm Bureau

Many farmers and ranchers are already benefitting from drone technology, but the work of researchers like Dr. Lav Khot is showing that we’ve only scratched the surface of what this relatively new technology can do for agriculture. Khot works for Washington State University’s Center for Precision and Automated Agricultural Systems and in the agricultural automation engineering research emphasis area of the Department of Biological Systems Engineering. [ full article on Farm Bureau site ]

Agtech: Higher yields, lower costs, better environmental protection

Dr. Lav Khot operating a drone in flight

Fall 2016 | Washington Business Magazine, by Richard S. Davis

Advanced technology has contributed to tremendous growth in production since the middle of the 20th century, while farmers have been able to reduce inputs, including labor, chemicals, and energy.  The agricultural and food industry accounts for 13 percent of Washington State’s economy. Biotech, “flying tractors”, designer orchards, and robots have changed everything on the farm, from planting to harvest to packing house.

At left, Washington State University professor Dr. Lav Khot flies and eight-bladed octo-copter unmanned aerial vehicle or drone.

[ full article in Washington Business digital magazine (requires Flash) – page 30 ]

 

Drone captures vineyard irrigation data

NBC Right Now logo Growing wine grapes with less water: The study Khot is involved in is an effort to reduce the amount of irrigation water used to grow wine grapes by applying water directly to the roots of a vine in the ground, instead of dripping water on the ground near the trunk. The project is led by WSU professors Pete Jacoby and Sindhuja Sankaran, both affiliate faculty members of CPAAS. » More ...

WSU tests unmanned helicopter to dry cherries

August 12, 2015 | by Jeffrey Dennison, WSU Tri-Cities

photo courtesy of WSU
photo courtesy of WSU

PROSSER, Wash. — Washington State University and a private company are testing an unmanned helicopter to blow rainwater off cherries on trees.

The 11-foot-long, 141-pound Yamaha RMAX aircraft has been used in to spray rice crops in Japan since 1997. Some 2,500 operate there now. WSU has begun tests to determine its feasibility as a safer, less expensive replacement of manned helicopters to dry cherries. [full article]

Video: Unmanned helicopter tested for rainwater removal

August 11, 2015 | by Jeffrey Dennison, WSU Tri-Cities

PROSSER, Wash. – Washington State University is partnering with Digital Harvest Corp. to test an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that could provide a safer, less expensive means to blow rainwater off cherry orchards to avoid fruit losses.

Rain can cause splits in the skin of cherries and similar fruits, rendering them susceptible to premature decay and, thus, commercially unmarketable. Growers use hovering helicopters to dry off cherry crops after a rainstorm, but that is costly and can be dangerous. [full article]

Sensor Data Improves Cherry Production

by Steven Garrity on June 15, 2015

In July of 2013, Dr. Lav Khot and his team were in the field looking at how cherries were picked, weighed, and transported, when suddenly a helicopter began circling around a nearby orchard block.  When Dr. Khot asked the grower about it he said, “There was a rain last night, and we are trying to dry the tree canopies.”  The grower told Khot that cherries are susceptible to cracking if moisture stays on the fruit too long, so they hire helicopters to fly over their orchards to remove water from the fruit and leaves, hoping to prevent fruit loss.  [full article]