Impact Reports

WSU Crop Diagnostic Clinic

2015

Partners and Funding

Wheat contributes more than $1 billion to Washington state’s economy each year, while millions of dollars are lost in small-grain production due to disease, weed competition, and insect pests. For example, Eastern Washington is a persistently vulnerable area for stripe rust. Each year stripe rust can significantly impact yield throughout the state. In 1961 and 1976, yield losses to stripe rust were 26-50%, In 1984, 1990, 2005, 2010, and 2011, losses were 6-10%. If there was a 26% loss (as was the case in 1961) due just to stripe rust in Washington in 2014, that would result in more than $187 million in loss ($719.3 million total wheat production value for 2014). Stripe rust races are constantly changing, as are other diseases, weeds, and insect pests that impact crop production across the state. Continued education about new resistant crop varieties and treatments is necessary for producers to make educated decisions that lead to increased profits.

Wheat contributes more than $1 billion to Washington’s economy each year, while millions of dollars are lost in small-grain production due to disease, weed competition, and insect pests. For example, Eastern Washington is a persistently vulnerable area for stripe rust. Each year stripe rust can significantly impact yield throughout the state. In 1961 and 1976, yield losses to stripe rust were 26-50%, In 1984, 1990, 2005, 2010, and 2011, losses were 6-10%. If there was a 26% loss (as was the case in 1961) due just to stripe rust in Washington in 2014, that would result in more than $187 million in loss ($719.3 million total wheat production value for 2014). Stripe rust races are constantly changing, as are other diseases, weeds, and insect pests that impact crop production across the state. Continued education about new resistant crop varieties and treatments is necessary for producers to make educated decisions that lead to increased profits.

In 2010, a Crop Diagnostic Clinic was developed to address these problems. The first WSU Crop Diagnostic Clinic was held that year, followed by others in 2011 and 2014, and it now will be conducted every other year. The primary objective of the WSU Crop Diagnostic Clinic is to enable growers, private and public breeders, extension educators, ag fieldmen, industry representatives, and researchers to hone their crop production troubleshooting skills so that they can accurately diagnose crop problems, improve crop management strategies, and improve economic return to the agricultural producer.

The first crop diagnostic clinic was funded by a $10,000 grant from the Washington Grain Commission. Funding of this clinic helped initiate two additional Crop Diagnostic Clinics and has brought in more than $18,500 in revenue since 2011. The success of the Crop Diagnostic Clinic required the cooperation and collaboration of WSU Research and Extension faculty, USDA researchers, University of Idaho faculty, and Oregon State University faculty from multidisciplinary fields of study. The experts integrated their specialized knowledge in a way that enabled clinic participants to better understand how interrelated factors influence crop health and growth. The Crop Diagnostic Clinic was incorporated as a priority project within the WSU Small Grains Team in 2014. In 2014, 10 short, informative videos from the clinic were published and posted on the small grains website at http://www.smallgrains.wsu.edu.

The WSU Crop Diagnostic Clinics have been a huge success. In 2010, more than 153 individuals (producers, members of the agricultural industry, private industry, financial management, and university faculty) attended the clinic from eastern Washington. The clinic brought in more than $8,000 in revenue to be used for additional clinics. An evaluation summary was collected from more than 80 participants at the conclusion of the clinic. Attendees improved their knowledge of plant pathogens and their symptomology by 27% and herbicide injury by 30% by attending the clinic. More than 97% of the attendees evaluated said the Crop Diagnostic Clinic enabled them to make better crop management decisions.

The number of attendees was limited in 2011 and 2014 to make it a more hands-on experience. In 2011, more than 65 individuals attended the Crop Diagnostic Clinic. After comparing attendees’ pre and post-tests, the average knowledge of attendees increased 31% regarding foliar plant pathogens and their symptomology, 58% for soil borne plant pathogens and their symptomology, 18% for herbicide injury, 47% for wireworm symptoms and their control, 15% for weed identification, and 27% for cereal grain fertility. The overall average increase in knowledge from the clinic was 33%. All of the attendees who were evaluated said attending the Crop Diagnostic Clinic would enable them to make better crop management decisions.

In 2014, approximately 80 people attended a field day. According to the attendees, the most informative demonstrations were herbicide injury, weed identification, and disease identification.

Through the success of the WSU Crop Diagnostic Clinic and other train-the-trainer programs, Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education has provided a $74,755 grant for a program titled Training IPM Professionals in Rural Areas: A Model to Achieve Sustainable Knowledge.

  • The initial grant for the program was $10,000 from the Washington Grain Commission.
  • 3 clinics have been conducted.
  • 300 people have participated in the clinics, 130 growers and the remainder from the agriculture industry.
  • The clinics have produced $18,500 in revenue.

“I will use knowledge learned today to make more informed decisions on my farm.”

“… large knowledge of disease and identification to better serve customers.”

”Very useful and resourceful day. I like the variety and knowledge base that was made available to use.”

“I got a lot of good information out of the clinic and believed it was well worth my time and would like to attend future clinics.”

Thanks to the Washington Grain Commission for providing the financial support to jumpstart this program. The Crop Diagnostic Clinic has helped in acquiring funding from Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education, in collaboration with Oregon State University, for an education program: Ag Industry on Weed, Insect and Disease Identification and Management.

For more information, please contact Stephen Van Vleet, Ph.D, Regional Extension Specialist, Agriculture & Natural Resources, 310 N. Main St., Room 209, Colfax, WA 99111, call: 509-397-6290 or email: svanvleet@wsu.edu.

MEAT Team

Increasing knowledge of farm-to-table food standards

2016

Funding

Everyone raising livestock for food production is looking for information to help them better understand the food production chain from farm to table. Training on meat quality, value-based pricing, regulations, food safety, and quality standards is necessary to maintain livestock profitability and competitiveness, as well as a reliable and secure food system.

Everyone raising livestock for food production is looking for information to help them better understand the food production chain from farm to table. Training on meat quality, value-based pricing, regulations, food safety, and quality standards is necessary to maintain livestock profitability and competitiveness, as well as a reliable and secure food system. An understanding of the latest research and new technologies is helpful to address critical and emerging issues on regulations, food safety, and quality standards.

Since 2006, the Washington State University Meat Animal Evaluation, Analysis and Technology (MEAT) team has presented beef, pork, lamb, and poultry educational programs to more than 650 participants. Fifteen interdisciplinary faculty from Washington State University, University of Idaho, Kansas State University, Oregon State University, and University of Wyoming representing animal and food sciences, economics, and veterinary medicine, collaborate with industry professionals to provide three different levels of courses on beef, lamb, and pork, and one for poultry. These courses are designed to increase the knowledge and skills of individuals involved in the meat animal industry to promote safe, high-quality production and expand marketing opportunities for animal products. Extensive hands-on and experiential training gives participants the skills they need to successfully raise meat-market animals, increasing the profitability and wholesomeness of the products they harvest and produce. These programs address food production from “farm to table” and encompass topics such as breed selection, life-cycle nutrition, management on pasture, record keeping and budgets, live animal evaluations, harvest, carcass grading, food safety, direct-marketing regulations, and marketing targets and challenges. Panel discussions, tours of industry facilities, and live evaluation of livestock contribute to the practical knowledge of participants.

In 2013, 100% of participants in the Beef-, Lamb-, and Pork-100, 200 and 300 courses and the Poultry 100 course increased their knowledge of:

  • Breed selection and genetics;
  • Feeds and nutrition;
  • Record keeping and budgets;
  • Marketing of beef, lamb, pork, and poultry;
  • Home slaughtering rules and regulations; and
  • Value-added strategies and how to implement healthcare and management programs.

As determined by survey, 100% of the Lamb- and Poultry-100 respondents (including participants who considered themselves experts) rated the programs as highly or moderately valuable and gained knowledge regarding small-ruminant and poultry production practices. Ninety percent of the Pork-300 participants indicated that the program contributed significantly to their knowledge of the industry. One hundred percent of participating agriculture education instructors indicated they would incorporate this information into their animal science curricula for classroom teaching. A survey of Beef 200 participants indicated 100% of them increased their level of knowledge of live animal and carcass evaluation; record keeping and measuring profitability; feeding beef cattle to meet their nutritional needs; and how to better market beef and beef products. After the Beef-300 course, 86% of attendees said they had increased their ability to market their products. Eighty-eight percent increased their ability to evaluate live animals, 87% increased their carcass evaluation skills, and 100% increased their understanding of food safety and quality assurance issues.

  • Fifteen faculty from 5 universities have collaborated with more than 100 industry professionals to present more than 30 classes and workshops held across the state in 6 different locations, and at Oregon State University and Superior Farms in Dixon, CA.
  • More than 650 program participants statewide since 2006.

“I now do a much better job of rotating my grazing lots. I have altered my economic business plan based on recommendations from this program and have begun the process to become organically certified in Washington.”

“I have attended many continuing education courses during my career. I found this program to be one of the most pragmatic and interesting courses that I have ever attended. No fluff, just good pertinent information.”

Funding included grants or donations from the National Sheep Industry Improvement Center, the USDA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program, Washington Cattle Feeders Association, Washington Cattlemen’s Association, Washington State Beef Commission, Washington State Sheep Producers, American Sheep Industry’s Let’s Grow grant program, Superior Farms in Dixon, CA, and a number of individual sheep producers, cattle producers, and feedlots.

For more information, contact Mark Nelson, Department of Animal Sciences | 509-335-5623 or nelsonm@wsu.edu.

For more information, please visit http://www.ansci.wsu.edu/research.