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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

Lynne Carpenter-Boggs.

History of collaboration and teaching leads to organic agriculture award

Two of a professor’s highest priorities are making new scientific discoveries that benefit society and teaching the next generation of scientists. Lynne Carpenter-Boggs covers both incredibly well. Her skills were proved last month when Carpenter-Boggs received the Advocate of the Year Award at the Tilth Conference, held annually by Tilth Alliance, a nonprofit organization supporting a sustainable, healthy, and equitable food future.
Group with the custom shield.

Armoring the Cougs: AgTM 201 metal shop builds custom shield for Cougar football video

From tractor parts to cattle panels, students in Washington State University’s Agriculture Technology and Production Management metal shop course can fix or make practically anything. This fall was the first time they’ve built a medieval-style shield, a lot like something a knight or gladiator would have carried. The man-at-arms in this case was WSU linebacker and All-Pac-12 first team nominee Daiyan Henley, who wielded the Cougar logo-emblazoned shield in a promotional video filmed for the football teams appearance against USC. The uniform reveal videos are sponsored by the Washington Lottery.

Washington state quinoa can make a better cookie

PULLMAN, Wash. – The “super grain” quinoa has the potential to make a super cookie, according to research by Washington State University. In a study published in the Journal of Food Science, WSU researchers show that two types of quinoa — bred specifically to grow in Washington state — had great functionality as a potential high-fiber, high-protein additive flour for commercial cookies. This means when baked, the cookies had good “spreadability” and texture.
Michael Walsh explains how impact mills are used on combines during a meeting of growers, WSU weed science researchers, and others at a farm near Pullman.

Australian professor shares herbicide resistance knowledge during WSU visit

A key to the battle against herbicide resistance in weeds could come from Down Under. Michael Walsh, an associate professor at the University of Western Australia, spent a week at the Washington State University Pullman campus this fall, discussing herbicide resistance and weed seed control with farmers in the surrounding region and giving a seminar to scientists in WSU’s Department of Crop and Soil Sciences. Walsh thinks impact mills—physical weed seed control systems that attach to combines and are widely used in Australia—could hold promise for the Pacific Northwest. Drew Lyon, professor and endowed chair in small grains Extension and research, weed science, invited Walsh to WSU. Lyon describes Walsh as the “international expert” in harvest weed seed control.

WSU, FFA partner up to address Washington ag teacher shortage

Washington State University and FFA teamed up this fall for a statewide event designed to get high school and middle school students excited about careers in agriculture. Held last month, and covering nine Washington FFA districts, the Evergreen Leadership Tour spanned 1,400 miles and seven different stops at high schools and fairgrounds in locations ranging from Castle Rock to Colfax. More than 1,700 students and nearly 200 agriculture teachers attended, with many taking part in workshops presented by state FFA officers and WSU students.
Two combines in a field at night.

Harvest Time at Spillman Farm will be Easier with Gift of Combines

Generations of Coug students have worked under the hot sun harvesting test crops at Washington State University’s Spillman Agronomy Farm. At first they did the work by hand, cutting and gathering wheat, barley, pea, lentil and chickpea crops from small test plots. Specially-made combines for the research plots were an improvement, but they still were labor-intensive to operate. With the arrival of two new Zurn plot combine harvesters, students and faculty have access to similar technology, safety and comfort found in commercial rigs, said Arron Carter, a professor in the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences and the O.A. Vogel Endowed Chair of Wheat Breeding and Genetics. The machines cut, thresh, weigh and bag samples, with special features to prevent cross-contamination between plots. The Zurn 150 combines came to WSU thanks to the Washington Grain Commission, which approved the nearly $500,000 gift in 2021.
Tuffs of grass in a field.

Lawns for a Hot, Dry Future Tested at WSU Turfgrass Research Farm

Late summer has transformed Washington State University’s turfgrass research farm from waving meadows to dormant, golden stubble. But over in the corner, rows of a Pacific Northwest newcomer are tall and verdant despite summer’s heat. Deep-rooted and heat-loving, Bermuda grass is one of about a dozen experimental varieties at WSU’s new Perennial Grass Breeding and Ecology Farm. Here, researchers test candidates for the lawns of the future: grasses that stay soft and green under hotter climates or minimal watering and fertilizer. “One of our goals at the farm is to bring out new types of grasses that aren’t typically grown in our area,” said Michael Neff, farm director and professor in the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences. “We want grasses that work for our soil, for farms and lawns, and for harsher environments.”
Logo for ARCS

WSU Ag Programs Highly Ranked in the World

US News and World Report places WSU at #39 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 #44 worldwide. For more information, go to the QS Worldwide list.