Crop and Soil Sciences

The Department of Crop and Soil Sciences at Washington State University serves the Land Grant tradition by offering nationally competitive undergraduate and graduate education programs, conducting fundamental and applied plant and soil research, and extending the science of our disciplines to serve the public.

CSS News & Updates

Biodegradable Plastic Mulch Could Help Environment, Increase Yield

U.S. agriculture uses about a billion pounds of plastic annually, and much of that material ends up in landfills, rivers, oceans and even our food, beverages and bodies.

Jessica Goldberger’s aim is to help farmers grow crops more sustainably and curb global dependence on wasteful, perpetual plastic.

Soil Scientist David Brown Named New AgWeatherNet Director

Washington State University soil scientist David Brown has been selected as the new director of AgWeatherNet, Washington’s agricultural weather network.

AgWeatherNet strives to help Washington growers and citizens understand and prepare for the challenges and changes that weather brings.

WSU Scientists Experimenting with Paper Mill Waste to Fight Soil Disease

ROCKFORD – Washington State University professor Tim Murray drove a white truck across a farm field where the winter wheat and rye look sick.

Murray scooped a cup of dirt and used a pH meter to test it. The meter revealed what has become alarming to farmers: The soil was as acidic as a cup of black coffee.

Soil acidification is killing crops at a slow but increasing rate in some places in Eastern Washington. It’s a long-term problem that’s caused by adding nitrogen to the soil to increase crop yield. Acidification causes compounds such as aluminum sulfate to form, which is deadly to crops. In the short term, farmers can’t justify the costs of traditional solutions like spreading limestone on the soil because it costs too much to transport.

Arron Carter, WSU professor and winter wheat breeder, said some acres on the Rockford farm are losing up to 60 percent of their yield.

Environmentally Friendly Farming Practices Used by Nearly 1/3 of World’s Farms

PULLMAN, Wash. – Nearly one-third of the world’s farms have adopted more environmentally friendly practices while continuing to be productive, according to a global assessment by 17 scientists in five countries.

New Home for Research: WSU Breaks Ground on State-of-the-Art Plant Sciences Building

PULLMAN, Wash. — Washington State University broke ground Wednesday for the Plant Sciences Building, a new state-of-the-art home for research in Washington.

The fourth of six planned buildings in the V. Lane Rawlins Research and Education Complex on the Pullman campus, the $52 million Plant Sciences Building was approved by the Washington State Legislature this year.

WSU-bred Barleys Delivering Unique Northwest Beer Flavors

Crunchy kernels of barley tumble from Joel Williamson’s hands as he scoops them up, offering a taste.

“This is a first: The inaugural batch of Lyon malt,” says Williamson, head maltster at Spokane-based craft malting company LINC Malt.

“This is really good,” replies customer Heath Barnes, popping a few grains into his mouth.

Commercial malts are often plain and basic, but craft-malted Lyon is different.

Dryland Partnership Pays Off with Record-Breaking Wheat Contest Win

For more than a hundred years, Washington State University wheat breeders have worked side-by-side with Washington’s dryland farmers to develop new wheat varieties that thrive in the state’s driest regions.
That century-long partnership is paying off. WSU-bred winter wheat claimed the state yield title and placed fifth in the nation in the National Wheat Foundation’s 2017 dryland winter wheat yield contest.
Franklin County farmer Brian Cochrane grew 92 bushels per acre on a five-acre plot near Kahlotus, Wash., benefiting from record autumn rainfall to blow past the county average of 32 bushels an acre.

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WSU Ag Programs Highly Ranked in the World

US News and World Report places WSU at #36 for Best Global Universities for Agriculture Sciences. For more information, go to the US News list. QS World University Rankings for Agriculture and Forestry places WSU at #45 worldwide. For more information, go to the CS Worldwide list.