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Department of Crop and Soil Science News
Discovery of unauthorized genetically-engineered wheat growing on an eastern Oregon farm last month led to a federal investigation and sparked global controversy, jeopardizing international export markets for a crop worth $300 million to $500 million to the state's economy annually.
But it also put a spotlight on an Oregon State University department that more typically toils in obscurity doing the technical and even arcane work of agricultural research.
"Some of what we do is becoming more apparent" in the wake of the flap over genetically modified wheat, said Russ Karow, chair of OSU's Crop and Soil Science Department.
An Oregon State University wheat expert hopes to help farmers make the best choices as they select which varieties to plant next.
Mike Flowers, extensions cereals specialist, and Bob Zemetra, wheat breeder, teamed up during the Pendleton Field Day June 11 at OSU's Columbia Basin Agricultural Research Center.
Flowers walked the different varieties available to growers on the field day's demonstration plots, offering pros and cons of the options.
Flowers said growers often make their variety selection based on disease resistance, but can neglect other factors. He advises growers to plant a mix of wheat varieties for different attributes, including maturity. In wet, cool years, late-maturing varieties tend to perform better. In dry years, early-maturing varieties tend to be better, he said.
This is one of two remotely-piloted vehicles researchers will be using here at the Oregon State University's Hermiston Agricultural Research and Extension Center.
It's called the HawkEye. It weighs just eight pounds and is roughly the size of small duffle bag. It has a propeller, but no wings. It's kept in the air with a brightly colored parasail.
No one I’ve met has a passion for soil like James Cassidy.
The Oregon State University crop and soil scientist taught an outdoor workshop on the best methods for soil health in the home garden May 11 at a Southeast Salem Neighborhood garden.
Several plant scientists questioned conclusions Monsanto Co. (MON) drew from its investigation of an escaped gene-altered wheat variety and said there is still a risk that rogue grain is in the seed supply.
In its first detailed response to last week’s announcement that a genetically modified wheat not approved for use was found growing in an Oregon farmer’s field, Monsanto said that it has since tested 31,200 seed samples in Oregon and Washington and found no evidence of contamination.