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Many of our agricultural crops are propagated from seeds.  These can be annual crops (e.g., lettuce, wheat) or perennials (e.g., alfalfa, red clover).  Seeds contain the genetic information to produce the desired crop in a given environment.  Within a specific crop (specific genus and species), there can be a large amount of genetic diversity that can be manipulated through crop breeding to develop specific varieties, or cultivars, with traits that are enhanced or eliminated, depending on the goal.  For example, breeders can select for a variety of spinach to be more resistant to a disease, or for a tomato that ripens with less heat units.  Similarly, breeding can eliminate undesirable traits such as seed shatter, unpleasant flavors, and unacceptable appearance.  Seeds are one of the easiest technological changes for a grower to adopt and increased emphasis on crop breeding for various sustainability attributes continues to be extremely important to the food system.


Featured Publications

Case Study: Evaluating farm processed canola and camelina meals as protein supplements for beef cattle

Llewellyn, D.A., G. Rohwer, O.S. Norberg, E. Kimura, J.S. Neibergs, and S.C. Fransen. 2015.  J. of NACAA, 8(2).

WSU Vegetable Research and Extension

Vegetable crop production and alternative crop development such as edamame, wasabi, bamboo, and organic seed production. Work is targeted for both small-scale and large commercial growers, with emphasis on organic production. Links include new fact sheets and information on grafted vegetables .


Additional Publications

Organic Seed Growers Conference Proceedings 2008

Salem, OR. February 2008.

Developing Quality Seed: Seedfolks Celebrate Successes at 4th Organic Seed Grower’s Conference – March 2006

Article in Sustaining the Pacific Northwest Newsletter

Organic Seed Growers Conference Proceedings 2006

Troutdale, OR. January 2006.

Learning to Grow Organic Seed – January 2003

Article in Sustaining the Pacific Northwest Newsletter

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