The plant pathology program at the Columbia Basin Agricultural Research Center conducts research and extension to understand and control diseases of field crops in a semi-arid region of the Pacific Northwest. Rainfed winter wheat is by far the most important crop in the region, where annual precipitation ranges from 10 to 24 inches (250 to 600 mm), and where most wheat is produced in areas with 10 to 16 inches (250 to 400 mm). Winters are cool and moist, and summers are warm-to-hot and dry. Foliar diseases other than stripe rust are seldom important in the region. Crop rotations are not common mostly because of combinations of climatic and economic factors that favor wheat production. Most winter wheat in the driest area is produced by alternating the crop (a 10-month growing period) with a 14-month period of fallow between crops. This crop management system favors injury to roots by soilborne plant-pathogenic fungi and plant-parasitic nematodes. These organisms cause chronic to severe damage to grain yield and grain quality. Options for managing losses caused by these root- and stem-invading organisms are often limited by issues associated with sustainability of soil, quality of air and water, perceptions of citizens, and economics. This website provides an overview of research that has as its goal the development of knowledge upon which growers and their advisors can improve the economic efficiency for producing field crops in the Pacific Northwest.
Updated on November 29, 2016