WSU Wheat Academy Extension logo.

Thank you to everyone who attended the 2023 WSU Wheat Academy. Available presentations and resources can be found below.

Informed Storage: Understanding the Risks and Opportunities (pdf), Dr. Randy Fortenbery, Washington State University

Managing Weeds with Less Herbicides (pdf), Dr. Drew Lyon, Washington State University

Diagnosing and Managing Diseases of Wheat (pdf), Dr. Tim Murray and Cassandra Bates, Washington State University

Field Diagnostics: Winter and Spring Canola (pdf) , Karen Sowers, PNWCA

Variety Selection: Winter and Spring Canola (pdf), Dr. Kamal Khadka, University of Idaho

Canola Fertility (pdf), Dr. Rich Koenig, Washington State University

Non-GMO Canola Seed (pdf), Melissa Carl, Viterra

Canola Seed Grading (pdf), Stacee Floyd, Viterra

Breeding Small Grains, Dr. Mike Pumphrey, Washington State University

Breeding Small Grains–Dr. Bob Brueggeman, Dr. Kim Campbell, Dr. Arron Carter, and Dr. Mike Pumphrey
Join the WSU and USDA-ARS wheat and barley breeders to learn the difference between inbreeding and outcrossing, how DNA-based information is used to inform breeding decisions and gain greater understanding of the techniques used to breed for disease tolerance, grain quality, and more. Learn how new technologies are being used in the field to improve the breeding process, and gain a greater understanding of how variety release, registration, and seed increase work. You will have an opportunity to try your hand at making a cross in wheat, and if you find that easy, challenge yourself by making a cross in barley.

Market Strategy Development–Dr. Randy Fortenbery
The Market Strategy Development module will focus on identifying and comparing specific marketing objectives and strategies under different market conditions. We will examine how to incorporate market outlook projections with current price activity to estimate price risks, and how those risks might translate into pricing opportunities going forward. The pros and cons of different marketing strategies under different risk scenarios will be examined, including evaluating whether storage or delayed pricing is likely to be attractive in any given year. We will use simulation analysis to evaluate risk/reward tradeoffs among marketing alternatives.

Postharvest N Analysis & Nutrient Management–Aaron Esser and Dr. Rich Koenig
Grab your calculator, soil test results, nitrogen fertilizer application rate, yield, grain protein and test weight for a few fields from your 2023 wheat crop. We will drill down into the numbers and show you how to calculate nitrogen use efficiency and a nitrogen input-output balance by field. We will discuss what the numbers mean, and how you can improve efficiency and your bottom line with precision management.

Diagnosing and Managing Diseases of Wheat–Dr. Tim Murray and Cassandra Bates
There are at least a dozen different diseases that affect wheat in the PNW. The first step to managing any disease and implementing a successful integrated pest management (IPM) program is correct identification of the problem. Effective management of plant diseases in wheat includes chemical strategies, cultural controls, resistant varieties, and understanding the influence of environmental factors. This course will describe several of the most common diseases of wheat in the PNW, provide tips on how to correctly diagnose and identify them, along with strategies for managing them. Key points for diagnosis will be patterns associated with biotic versus abiotic problems and distinguishing characteristics of commonly confused diseases. Tactics for practical management strategies including cultural and chemical tools, as well as disease resistance of regionally important diseases will be discussed.

A Deeper Dive into Canola ProductionMelissa Carl, Stacee Floyd, Dr. Kamal Khadka, Dr. Rich Koenig, Dr. Tim Paulitz, Karen Sowers, and Daniel Stenbakken
As canola acres increase annually in the PNW, so do the range of questions about canola production, and strategies to maximize yield. We will address some of those questions by taking a closer look at: 1) canola grading and quality; 2) variety selection; 3) macro and micronutrient interactions and fertilizer strategies; and 4) crop diagnostics. After brief presentations from industry reps and university faculty, there will be hands-on exercises using plant and seed samples, variety trial results, and live plants. Questions and discussion are highly encouraged!

On-Farm Trials Participatory Workshop–Carol McFarland
The On-Farm Trials Participatory Workshop was developed around how growers can get the most out of their own on-farm experiments. Whether it is a new product or an innovative practice that you’re trying to adapt to the inland Pacific Northwest, if you are interested in getting more out of what you’re experimenting with, this workshop is for you! A brief introduction covers practical planning, and design principles for applying a systematic approach to asking and answering management questions on a working farm. The primary goals for this workshop are to exchange ideas and experience with other attendees on ‘best practices’ and ‘lessons learned’ when conducting on-farm trials and for participants to come away with some new ideas and process-based inspiration to get the most information from what they are trying on their farms.

Biology and Management of Pests in Wheat, Canola, and Pulses–Dale Whaley and Dr. Sanford Eigenbrode
Insect pests can affect crops with serious impacts on farm profitability. However, not all insect pests are created equal and some cause more damage than others and some are not even “pests” at all! Because insect damage can be confused with environmental factors, nutrient deficiencies and/or other disease symptoms, it is important to be able to recognize pest species and the damage they cause. In this presentation, we have compiled up-to-date information on major pests affecting cereal crops and rotational crops in Washington and northern Idaho. We use an interactive session in which participants can select specific pests and we respond with background, identification information and discussion about each one. We typically cover about a dozen pests in a session. The pests we have covered include aphids including direct pests and virus vectors, flea beetles and leaf beetles, pod weevils, caterpillars, borers, and Hessian fly in wheat. We will have live or pinned specimens to help participants become more familiar with these pests.

Wheat Quality–PNW’s Role in Producing High Quality Wheat–Dr. Sean Finnie and Dr. Alecia Kiszonas
The PNW produces wheat of the highest quality – making it sought after by food manufacturers around the world. This level of quality did not come through happenstance, but a result of a commitment by stakeholders, researchers and growers in the region who saw an opportunity to utilize the favorable growing conditions to produce high quality wheat varieties. This session will explore what specific characteristics are responsible for wheat quality with demonstrations on extracting gluten and cookie baking. The participants will walk away with a clear understanding of what goes into wheat quality and why it is important to continue to grow high quality wheat in the PNW.

Agronomics of Dryland Grain and Fiber Hemp Production–Dr. Don Wysocki
An industrial hemp industry exists in western Canada. About 60,000 acres are grown annually in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. Recently, limited acres of grain hemp have been grown in Montana, Oregon, and Washington. Growth habits and production practices for growing grain/fiber hemp will be covered. Variety selection, sowing rates, sowing depth, and planting dates will be discussed. Fertility recommendations for nitrogen, phosphorus, sulfur, and micronutrients will be reviewed. Data from two years of nitrogen rate and uptake trials at Pendleton will be presented. Weed management, harvest challenges and grain handling, including grain cleaning practices, will be presented. Contracts, pricing, and delivery will be discussed. 

Managing Weeds with Less Reliance on Herbicides–Dr. Ian Burke and Dr. Drew Lyon
As herbicide-resistant weeds continue to spread throughout the PNW, weed management must, by necessity, rely less on single herbicides and more on herbicide mixtures with multiple modes of action or other weed management approaches. We will discuss the status of herbicide resistance in Eastern Washington and how the use of optical weed-sensing sprayers, chaff lining, and chaff tramlining can be used to manage weeds to reduce risk of herbicide resistance.

The Soil Microbiome and Soil Health–Dr. Timothy Paulitz and Dr. David Huggins
Soil microbes play a key role in plant and soil health, but because of the immense diversity and complexity this is still a “black hole” in terms of linking specific microbes to soil health.  We will discuss soil biology, the functional role of microbes, and existing methods of assessing soil health by measuring microbes and their activities. This will include microbial activity, enzymes, recent tests like Solvita and Haney, PLFA and recent work using DNA techniques.  We will demonstrate and critique these techniques and dispel many of the myths that one or a few measurements can accurately predict plant or soil health.

Interpreting Soil Test Results–Dr. Rachel Wieme, Paul Carter, and Dr. Surendra Singh
Don’t guess, soil test! Quality soil sampling and testing is necessary for knowing the current soil nutrient status; understanding the information you receive from soil tests is essential for sound nutrient management decisions. This course will cover all things soil testing: from best practices for planning and taking quality soil samples, reviewing and interpreting soil test results, tips for managing the data you receive, and how to use that information to make informed nutrient applications for improved crop production. Attendees may bring their own soil test results to analyze. We will present data and observations from field trials. This session will also cover why soil pH is a driving factor in management decisions, especially related to soil testing and nutrient availability.

Cassandra Bates, Plant Diagnostician, WSU Plant Pest Diagnostic Clinic
Cassandra Bates runs the WSU Plant Disease Diagnostic Clinic where she sees a wide variety of plant pests, diseases, and disorders. Graduating from Michigan State University with a masters in Entomology/Nematology, her research focused on trap crop systems for the control of soybean cyst, sugar beet cyst, and root-lesion nematodes. From there she went on to be the education coordinator for the North Central Plant Diagnostic Network, then onto managing various research programs from Potato Cyst Nematode in Idaho to Tick borne pathogens in cattle.

Dr. Robert Brueggeman, WSU Barley Breeder
Bob Brueggeman is the Robert A. Nilan Endowed Chair in Barley Research and Education and an Associate Professor in the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, WSU. He received his M.S. and Ph.D. in Crop Science from Washington State University with an emphasis in barley molecular genetics. Dr. Brueggeman’s breeding program is focused on developing spring and winter barley cultivars for the malt, food and feed classes. His basic research is focused on the discovery and functional analysis of genes that contribute to malt and food quality and disease resistance. This basic research is translated to the field by improving the efficiency of marker assisted and genomic selection to expedite the process of variety development.  

Dr. Ian Burke, WSU Weed Scientist
Ian Burke is the R. J. Cook Endowed Chair of Wheat Research and a Professor in the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences at WSU. Dr. Burke’s research focuses on basic aspects of weed biology, as well as applied weed management approaches for eastern Washington. He also teaches the undergraduate ‘Ecology and Management of Weeds’ course. He received his Ph.D. and M.S. in weed science from North Carolina State University and joined WSU in 2006.

Dr. Kimberly Garland-Campbell, USDA-ARS Research Geneticist
Kimberly Garland-Campbell is a USDA-ARS Research Geneticist and adjunct faculty in Crop and Soil Sciences at WSU.  Prior to coming to Pullman in 1999, she spent 8 years on the faculty as wheat breeder at The Ohio State University. She received her M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Crop Science from North Carolina State University. She also has an M.A. in Theology from the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia. Her research is focused on club wheat breeding and pre-breeding of wheat for disease resistance and improved end use quality.

Melissa Carl, Lead Lab Technician, Viterra
Melissa Carl is the Lead Lab Technician for Viterra in Warden, WA. She has worked for Viterra for 3 years and leads a team of 3 lab technicians. Melissa is the trainer for all non-gmo testing, and is dedicated to making sure there is no contamination brought in as non-gmo canola seed. GO COUGS!

Dr. Arron Carter, WSU Winter Wheat Breeder
Arron Carter is the O. A. Vogel Endowed Chair of Winter Wheat Breeding and Genetics and a Professor in the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences in WSU.  He received his M.S. in Plant Science from the University of Idaho and his Ph.D. from Washington State University, both with an emphasis in plant breeding.  His program is focused on development of improved winter wheat cultivars.  Dr. Carter’s research investigates the use of new genomic and phenomic tools to improve make the breeding effort more efficient and effective.

Paul Carter, WSU Associate Professor (Emeritus)
Paul Carter, Associate Professor (Emeritus), joined Washington State University in 2005 as an Extension specialist in dryland cropping systems, soil nutrition, and soil health. Over the course of his Extension tenure, he has conducted educational and research studies on soil acidity, nutrient availability, and plant deficiencies on Pacific Northwest dryland soils. Paul’s programs have addressed the adoption of adjusted soil sampling techniques, and applications of micronutrients, and lime (CaCO3) to improve crop production in the Pacific Northwest.

Dr. Sanford Eigenbrode, UI Entomologist
Sanford Eigenbrode is Professor of Entomology in the Department of Entomology, Plant Pathology and Nematology at the University of Idaho. His research interests include chemical ecology, landscape ecology and management of insects affecting PNW production systems, with emphases on insect-vectored viruses of wheat, potatoes and legumes. His recent work examines above and below-ground pests and beneficials in diversified cropping systems, including cover crops.

Aaron Esser, WSU Extension Agronomist
Aaron Esser is a professor of Extension at WSU. He received his M.S. in Plant Science from the University of Idaho and his B.S. in Agricultural Economics from the University of Idaho. His research focuses on the adoption of conservation tillage practices, diversified cropping and improved farm economics. He has been working on integrated wireworm management strategies in wheat cropping systems since 2008. He also oversees the management of the WSU Wilke Research and Extension Farm in the intermediate rainfall cropping zone of eastern Washington.

Dr. Sean Finnie, USDA-ARS Western Wheat Quality Lab, Director
Sean Finnie grew up in Moscow, Idaho and received a B.S. and M.S. in Food Science from the University of Idaho. Sean furthered his education and completed his Ph.D. in Grain Science and Industry at Kansas State University. Sean’s training continued as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at KU Leaven, in Belgium. Sean was first introduced to cereal science while an undergraduate student working at the USDA-ARS Western Wheat Quality Lab. Sean was the Senior Manager of Cultivar Development and Research at Bay State Milling Company within the Varietal Solutions business unit. In this role, he led cultivar development initiatives with an emphasis on nutrition and quality traits.

Stacee Floyd, Logistics Operator and Seed Grading Specialist, Viterra
Stacee Floyd is the lead Logistics Operator and Seed Grading Specialist with Viterra. She has worked in the agriculture industry for 8 years and has been a part of the team at Viterra for a year and a half. Stacee is in charge of incoming seed testing and grading, and training new team members.

Dr. Randy Fortenbery, Thomas B. Mick Endowed Chair
Randy Fortenbery is currently a professor and the Thomas B. Mick Endowed Chair in the School of Economic Sciences at Washington State University. He also serves as Director of the IMPACT Center at WSU. He was previously Chairman of the Ag Markets Advisory Committee to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the government agency responsible for oversight of U.S. derivative markets. His research focuses on agricultural price performance, the impacts of new information on relative and overall price levels, the impacts of futures price action on the stability of cash markets and international trade. He joined the WSU faculty in 2011 after spending 19 years at the University of Wisconsin – Madison.

Dr. Dave Huggins, USDA-ARS Soil Scientist
Dave Huggins is the Research Leader of the USDA-ARS Northwest Sustainable Agroecosystems Research Unit and Site Lead for the Cook Agronomy Farm Long-Term Agroecosystem Research (LTAR) location. He first landed in the Palouse region back in 1981 and has worked towards improving conservation crop and tillage systems, soil health and precision agriculture. His research efforts involve assessment of management practices on nutrient use efficiency, soil organic matter and soil acidification at field scales.

Dr. Kamal Khadka, University of Idaho
Kamal Khadka is the Canola Breeder and Assistant Professor in the Department of Plant Sciences at the University of Idaho. Kamal received his B.S. in agriculture and M.S. in plant breeding and genetics from Tribhuvan University, Nepal and Ph.D. in plant breeding and genetics from University of Guelph, Canada. He has more than 10 years of experience in cereal crop breeding (rice, maize and wheat) and has a strong background in participatory approaches to plant breeding. Kamal’s current research investigates different breeding approaches to develop canola, rapeseed and mustard varieties that are adapted to PNW environments.

Dr. Alecia Kiszonas, USDA-ARS Biologist
Alecia Kiszonas is a USDA-ARS Biologist and adjunct faculty in Crop and Soil Sciences and Food Science at WSU. Her work focuses on evaluating wheat breeder samples and the Variety Testing samples for quality attributes important to our export customers. She also researches quality testing methods for high-throughput evaluation of early-generation wheat breeding samples. She received her M.S. degree in Agronomy/Crop Production & Physiology from Iowa State University. She received her Ph.D. in Crop Science from Washington State University with an emphasis on cereal chemistry and statistics.  

Dr. Rich Koenig, Professor of Soil Science
Rich is a soil scientist and soil fertility research and extension faculty member focused in eastern Washington dryland cropping systems. He has conducted soil fertility research on wheat, pulse crops, grass seed, and canola, and a variety of studies involving soil acidification and liming in eastern Washington.

Dr. Drew Lyon, WSU Extension Weed Scientist
Drew Lyon is Professor and Endowed Chair, Small Grains Extension and Research, Weed Science. His Extension and research program focuses on weed control in dryland small grain production systems of eastern Washington. This includes weed control in crops grown in rotation with small grains as well as in summer fallow. His research is primarily applied in nature and conducted mostly in the field. The research is quickly transferred to Washington growers through his Extension program.

Carol McFarland, PNW Farmers’ Network
Carol is the research associate leading the PNW Farmers’ Network in association with collaborating researchers with WSU and USDA-ARS. Carol received her B.S. degree in Agroecology from Montana State University and came to WSU in 2013 where she completed her M.S. focused on soil acidification, liming, and the development of outreach materials. Enthusiastic about applied ag science, and a belief in the power of great conversations, she works to fulfill the mission of creating a place for cooperatively investigating the innovative ideas for agricultural resiliency, that drive useful and usable research– on the farm, and in the lab.

Dr. Timothy Murray, WSU Extension Plant Pathologist
Tim Murray is Professor and Rosalie and Harold Rea Brown Distinguished Endowed Chair of Plant Pathology. After teaching introductory plant pathology for 30 years, he joined the extension Dryland Cropping systems team in 2012. His research program focuses on sustainable control of wheat diseases including eyespot, Cephalosporium stripe, and snow molds, with a focus on improving the effectiveness of disease resistance and managing soil pH. He is author of A Colour Handbook of Diseases of Small Grain Cereal Crops, and co-editor of The Encyclopedia of Plant Pathology and Compendium of Wheat Diseases and Pests, 3rd edition, and author of over 120 scientific and 50 extension publications.

Dr. Timothy Paulitz, USDA-ARS Plant Pathologist
Dr. Paulitz joined USDA-ARS, Pullman in 2000, after 10 years as an associate professor at McGill University in Quebec, Canada. His focus is on the ecology, epidemiology and management of soilborne pathogens of cereal crops, including fungi (Rhizoctonia, Pythium and Fusarium) and nematodes (cereal cyst and root lesion). Over the last 10 years, he has explored the microbiome of wheat and other rotation crops and how they relate to soil health. He has published over 175 peer-reviewed articles and was the former Editor-in-Chief of American Phytopathological Society Press.

Dr. Mike Pumphrey, WSU Spring Wheat Breeder
Mike Pumphrey leads the spring wheat breeding and genetics program at WSU. They focus on development of resilient, high-yielding, and high-quality spring wheat varieties for Pacific Northwest farmers and society, from farm to table. Better understanding of disease and pest resistance, grain quality and nutrition, and climate resilience traits are major research areas. Genetic, physiological, and management information and technology, combined with appropriate breeding and selection activities, are integrated to strengthen long-term germ plasm and variety development efforts to enhance sustainability of food production.

Surendra Singh, Agronomist and Director, WSU Lind Dryland Research Station
Surendra Singh joined WSU’s Lind Dryland Research Station as an assistant professor (agronomist) and director in April 2023. He completed his postdoc from Oregon State University’s Pendleton research station and PhD from University of Tennessee, Knoxville. His research focuses on dryland cropping systems, soil erosion, nutrient management, diversified crop rotations, organic amendments, soil moisture, grain quality, and overall soil health in low rainfall areas of eastern Washington. 

Karen Sowers, PNW Canola Association
Karen Sowers is the Executive Director of the PNW Canola Association. She spent 12 years at WSU as the Extension and Outreach Specialist for the WOCS Project and has led the PNWCA since 2018. She is a dedicated “agvocate” for the canola industry and is passionate about canola being recognized as a ‘major’ crop’ in the 4-state region.  Karen has a B.S. in Agronomy from KSU, and an M.S. in Soil Science from WSU.

Daniel Stenbakken, Canola Agronomist, Viterra
Daniel Stenbakken is the Canola Agronomist and buyer for Viterra. After receiving his B.S. in AgTM from WSU he worked as a crop advisor for a regional crop input supplier, followed by his current role at Viterra. Daniel serves as an industry representative on the PNWCA board of directors, and the WA Oilseed Commission. 

Dale Whaley, WSU Extension Agronomist
Dale Whaley is the regional Extension specialist in Douglas County. His program focuses on biological weed control for noxious weeds, insect pest management and alternative cropping systems in the low-to-intermediate rainfall zones of eastern Washington.

Dr. Rachel Wieme, WSU Extension Agronomist
Rachel Wieme is an assistant professor with WSU Extension in Walla Walla County. She completed her PhD in Soil Science from WSU Pullman. Her research has covered a range of topics including nutrient cycling in alternative crop rotations, composting as a disposal method for livestock mortalities, and liming and micronutrient applications for low-pH soils in eastern Washington. Rachel joined WSU Extension this year as a Regional Agronomist and is building her program to support resilient cropping systems and practices that promote soil health across the diverse rainfall zones of Walla Walla county and the Blue Mountain Region.  

Dr. Don Wysocki, OSU Extension Soil Scientist
Don Wysocki is Extension Soil Scientist with the Crop and Soil Science Department of Oregon State University. He is located in Pendleton, Oregon. Don received his BS in natural resources science from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, MS in soil science from Washington State University, and PhD in soil science from Iowa State University. He conducts extension work and applied research on dryland cropping systems in eastern Oregon. His cropping systems work focuses on nutrient and residue management of cereal crops, agronomy of oil seed crops and direct seed farming practices.