Provision of forage protein reservoirs to enhance utilization of low-quality forages by beef cattle

Forages are well suited for livestock production, wildlife habitat, and provide benefits for soil conservation. As forages mature, protein declines and fiber increases. In ruminant nutrition, forages with less than 7% crude protein are considered low quality. Since protein is the first-limiting nutrient with low quality forages, grazing mature forage grasses typically requires provision of supplemental protein.

At-School Youth Farmers’ Markets: Can Hands-on Experience Purchasing Fruit and Vegetables Grown on BIOAg Farms Influence Valuation of Local Farming and Family Shopping Habits?

Teaching youth about biologically intensive agriculture can drive wider societal support for BIOAg farming and expand equitable access to food from these production systems. This study will investigate how knowledge and consumption of BIOAg food among children (and by extension families) changes in response to youth farmers’ market experiences.

Quantifying erosion reduction benefits resulting from the adoption of conservation tillage practices

Soil erosion is a continuous agricultural and environmental problem in the inland Pacific Northwest. Factors contributing to the high erosion rates include hilly topography, highly erodible soils, frequent winter freeze-thaw events that weaken the soil, and tillage and fallow practices that leave soil pulverized and bare. This project will develop a prototype framework to measure success (or lack thereof) of conservation programs.

Investigating the effects of microbial biopesticides as biocontrol for honey bee varroa mite

Metarhizium is a sporulating soil fungus used worldwide as pest biocontrol agents for their entomopathogenic properties. Varroa mite is a major pest of honey bees and are detrimental to honey bee health and primarily cause colony collapse. Chemical miticides raised concerns about human and pollinator health hazards and adverse environmental impacts. Therefore, beekeeping community actively seeks biopesticides as an alternative solution.

Scalable assessment of soil organic carbon for carbon incentive programs

Incentive programs to promote climate mitigation and soil health often resort to incentivizing practice adoption and crudely estimated benefits, rather than the actual soil carbon accrual. A transition to incentivizing the benefit itself, aligned with the principles of true cost accounting, is critical.

Improving Soil Health in Diversified Agroforestry and Silvopasture Systems of NE Washington

Soil health in agroforestry systems is largely lacking in the literature and a great need for data-driven practices has been expressed throughout NE Washington by local foresters, landowners, and tribal units. Forested systems exhibit vastly differing soil biota and response to land management compared with established treatments for soil health improvement in other agroecosystems. Therefore, […]

Mapping Colorado potato beetle to promote proactive management in potato

Potatoes are one of the highest value crops grown in Washington, but growers face threats from pests such as Colorado potato beetle (CPB). Because potatoes are an annual crop that grows for only 4-5 months, these pests live outside of crop fields from approximately September to May, and adults migrate into fields in late spring […]

A SmartChip for Pathogenic and Beneficial Microbes Underlying Soil Health

High-throughput, low-cost diagnostics for multiple aspects of soil health are a necessary component of maximizing the ability of researchers to understand soil health processes and farmers to effectively adopt soil health management practices. Across many growing regions of WA, soilborne diseases are a major limitation and given their patchy nature a large number of samples […]

Integrating drones into weed management on the Palouse

Farmers on the Palouse are increasingly spending more resources to manage weeds. Weed management, in part, requires fine scale knowledge of weed populations. Mapping weeds with drones is promising but requires knowledge of environmental variation and weed phenology. Application of drones in weed management is growing globally but local applications on the Palouse are limited. […]

Compost Teas for Enhanced Nutrient Cycling

With increasing fertilizer and fuel costs, producers are increasingly keen to improve on-farm nutrient cycling through biologically intensive methods. Currently, poor plant-soil-microbe interactions do not support healthy nutrient flow, which limits crop yield and favors fertilizer-dependent farming. Slow residue breakdown also inhibits direct seeding adoption and adherence since heavy residue at seeding time impedes direct […]