Lindsey du Toit, Vegetable Seed Pathologist, was interviewed for the APS Plantopia podcast episode Seeds! which addresses the important role of seeds in our lives, what it takes to produce seed, and the impact of seed pathology on agriculture. Inspired by the United Nations declaration of 2020 as the International Year of Plant Health, the American Phytopathological Society created the podcast series Plantopia (www.plantopiapodcast.org) where plant pathologists explain how protecting plant health can protect plants and our food supply to ensure a sustainable future.
Lisa DeVetter won the ISHS Young Minds Award for the best oral presentation at XII International Rubus and Ribes Symposium: Innovative Rubus and Ribes Production for High Quality Berries in Changing Environments in Switzerland in June 2019.
Biodegradable and non-degradable plastic mulches increase raspberry yield. Growers and scientists alike within the field of horticulture are continually seeking ways to improve sustainable production of food crops. The application of plastic mulches is one way to enhance crop production through improved weed management and modification of soil temperature and moisture. However, the use of plastics in society is under scrutiny and end-of-life management of agricultural plastics is a growing concern that threatens sustainability. Biodegradable plastics are an alternative to non-degradable polyethylene and polypropylene plastic mulches. This research evaluated the application of biodegradable plastic mulches in floricane red raspberry in the Pacific Northwest (PNW). This two-year research project showed that biodegradable plastic mulches are comparable to non-degradable plastic mulches in a spring-planted ‘WakeTMField’ raspberry field. Furthermore, both biodegradable and non-degradable mulches increased yield by 34% and improved weed management compared to the non-mulched control, which represented growers’ standard practice. While raspberry growers in the PNW adopting mulch application as a tool to aid establishment of spring-planted raspberry, time will tell whether biodegradable mulches truly degrade according to US (ASTM D5988-18) and European standards (EN 17033). Regardless, this research highlights the application and potential of plasticulture for raspberry and other perennial fruit crops.
Alex Batson, a Ph.D. student advised by Dr. Lindsey duToit (Plant Pathology), is the recipient of a 2020 Storkan-Hanes-McCaslin Research Foundation Award of $10,000 plus expenses to attend the annual meeting of the American Phytopathological Society.
Unit: Washington State University AgWeatherNet Program
Positions: Field Meteorologists (3)
Close Date: 06/17/2019
The WSU AgWeatherNet (AWN) program maintains a state-wide network of automated weather stations and an online platform (weather.wsu.edu) for dissemination of weather data and weather-related near-real time decision support tools.
Field Meteorologists are responsible for the acquisition, processing, and interpretation of high-quality weather station data. Position is responsible for monitoring and maintaining weather station equipment; locating appropriate sites for station placement; configuring and installing new stations, sensors and related equipment; ensuring sensors are calibrated; implementing, improving, interpreting data quality assurance algorithms and producing reports as needed for distribution to agricultural stakeholders.
Field Meteorologists are responsible for educating stakeholders and the general public on the use and interpretation of weather data and associated decision-support tools, contributing to regional meteorological extension and outreach that facilitates and promotes the use of AgWeatherNet tools. Field Meteorologists also provide consultation and technical support for research and extension programs. There is an expectation that Field Meteorologists initiate system improvements and collaborate with technical and other support staff in providing expert-level knowledge to create workable solutions for research, extension and operations.