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Author: Karen Hills

The Devil is in the Process: Co-composting Biochar Could Benefit Crop Growth and the Environment

Biochar has the potential to sequester carbon and improve the properties of soils when used as an agricultural amendment. However, biochar will only be a…

Could Wood Plastic Composites Motivate More Investments in Climate-Friendly Anaerobic Digestion?

Picture this future scenario: it’s a hot summer day and you are sitting with some friends on their deck enjoying a cold beverage. You notice…

How Will Climate Change Affect the Use of Fallow in Cropping Systems in Our Region?

Wheat residue on field near Ritzville, Washington, which is part of the a grain-fallow cropping system. (Photo: D. Kilgore) In non-irrigated areas that are too…

Turning Urban Wood Waste into Biochar

Biochar as a soil amendment has been the subject of much attention in recent years because of its ability to sequester carbon and to improve…

New Ideas for Improving the Resilience of Semi-Arid Systems

Karen Hills and CSANR Associate Director, Georgine Yorgey co-wrote this post. Dryland areas are historically used for wheat production. Photo: USDA, ARS. Across the dryland…

Crop residue–Help or hindrance?

The production of crop residue varies dramatically across the Inland Pacific Northwest, with estimated residue production for winter wheat ranging from roughly 0.9 ton/acre in…

How will climate change affect pests of inland Pacific Northwest cereal systems?

Models suggest that climate change in our region will involve an annual temperature increase of 3-4°F by the 2050’s, accompanied by changes in precipitation patterns,…

Tillage: When Less Is More

Though severe erosion can quickly deplete topsoil, rebuilding topsoil is an extremely difficult and slow process, so conserving this resource is imperative. Soil erosion is…

Variability and Scale: Considerations for Precision Agriculture

It is human nature to be entranced by the latest electronic gadget that promises to make our lives easier. Sometimes gadgets really do help us,…

Diversification where it isn’t easy: Beyond the grain-fallow rotation

Diversifying crop rotations is a key strategy used to break pest and disease cycles and improve yields. But in the driest areas of the Pacific…