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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 ]

Cuts to Manure Gas Earns Student Kudos

George NeerackalPh.D. student, George Mathew Neerackal, won 2nd place at the Ron Sheffield Memorial Student Poster competition at the Waste to Worth conference, Seattle, WA; March 30-April 03, 2015.

Poster Title: Manure pH Management for Mitigating Ammonia Emissions from Manure Flush Dairy Barns

Advisor: Dr. Pius Ndegwa

Poster-HeaderGeorge
click to see full research poster

Dairy cows produce lots of manure. A WSU student’s research on cutting the environmental impact of all that waste won him second place in a poster competition at Seattle’s annual Waste to Worth conference.

George Neerackal, who graduates later this year with a doctorate in Biological Systems Engineering, took second in the Ron Sheffield Memorial Student poster contest, held March 31 to April 3.

[read full article from CAHNRS]

Washington State University