Extension News from the West

MSU to host 2017 Crop and Pest Management School Jan. 3-5

Montana State University Extension News - Thu, 12/01/2016 - 12:00am
<p>BOZEMAN Montana State University will host the 2017 Crop and Pest Management School Jan. 3-5. The two-and-a half-day workshop...

Researchers feed, breed, protect bees to survive winter

Washington State University Extension News - Tue, 11/29/2016 - 9:49am
WSU technician Philip Baker examines a hive this fall.

Gathering last-minute sips of nectar and pollen, bees at the Washington State University Teaching Apiary recently made the most of an unusually warm, 60-degree November day.

So did bee breeder Steve Sheppard, who helped winterize dozens of WSU research hives before the cold returned.

“We’re lucky to have this kind of weather,” said Sheppard, who has led the university’s bee breeding program for 18 years. “A month from now, we wouldn’t be able to do this.”

Feeding bees, fending off disease

Winter is a tough time for the world’s most important pollinator. In addition to frigid temperatures, honey bee colonies must battle disease and parasites, including the devastating Varroa mite. WSU researchers are trying to help bees fight off these threats and survive until spring.

“We are breeding bees that overwinter in a thrifty fashion and resist disease,” said Sheppard. “We’re trying to develop bees that thrive without antibiotic treatment and with reduced mite treatments.”

In the teaching apiary, Sheppard and technician Philip Baker move from hive to hive, lifting lids to check the buzzing occupants for disease and hefting the double-decker wooden boxes to gauge their weight. A healthy hive contains at least 80-90 pounds of stored honey for the winter.

Entomologist Steve Sheppard checks colony health in the WSU Teaching Apiary.

To help underweight hives, Baker and WSU entomology students will place feeders full of thick sugar syrup inside. Timing is essential – once the temperature drops, bees aren’t able to easily access feeders: “If you don’t have your bees ready when winter comes, there’s not a lot you can do to fix it,” said Sheppard.

Winter bees cluster for warmth

In autumn, there’s a changing of the guard inside beehives where a new, longer-lived generation of bees is born. “Winter bees,” born with higher levels of fat and protein reserves, look the same as their summer siblings but far outlast hard-working summer bees, who only live as long as six weeks.

When outside temperatures fall below 55 degrees, bees form a “winter cluster,” packing tightly together and vibrating their wing muscles to keep warm.

“They’ll cluster for weeks or even months,” said Sheppard, which keeps the core of the hive a toasty 75 degrees.

When daytime temperatures rise above 55, winter bees take a “cleansing flight,” eliminating wastes.

“The cleansing flight is most noticeable after a number of weeks or months when they can’t fly,” said Sheppard. “When it warms up, the cluster dissipates and bees are able to fly again.”

Protecting hives from rotting, rodents

Among winterizing duties, Baker ensured that every hive is raised off the ground and every entrance angles downhill to drain rainfall and prevent rotting. He installed wire mesh screens in the entrances to ensure mice can’t come inside – a fast-multiplying rodent nest means quick doom for a dormant bee colony – and removed the entrance reducers that have protected the hive from wasp predators in late summer.

Bees forage on a warm November day. Screens protect the hive from intruders, but must be removed before winter.

“These are dangerous to keep on in winter,” said Sheppard. Entrance reducers increase the danger of blockage and suffocation during the clustering period.

“There shouldn’t be many drones left,” he said. Not needed for mating in winter, male bees are useless mouths driven out of the hive by workers every autumn. Bees stop rearing brood in fall and queens won’t start laying eggs again until after the solstice, when days start to lengthen. New baby bees will be fed stored honey and pollen.

New research center would study overwintering

WSU entomologists keep more than 200 hives on the Pullman campus and on surrounding properties in Washington and Idaho.

“To facilitate our field research, we can always use more bees,” said Sheppard. His team often partners with commercial beekeepers across the state to conduct research with their hives.

The proposed WSU Honey Bee and Pollinator Research Facility would permit increased hive numbers and infrastructure to expand research on honey bees and other pollinators.

“The new center increases our capacity in several areas,” Sheppard said. “All of our researchers, labs and workshops would be in one location. The facility would also contain the country’s first controlled atmosphere rooms dedicated to studying overwintering in bees.”

Inside a hive at the teaching apiary. Winter brings workers back to the hive to cluster for warmth.

Pioneering controlled climates for bees

Sheppard’s program has broken ground in incorporating controlled climates for better overwintering. Inside old apple storage warehouses, bees are kept in rooms containing up to 5,000 colonies with elevated carbon dioxide concentrations. The bees aren’t harmed by the CO2 but there is evidence that it can help control mites.

Sheppard’s lab has recently found that bees from colonies wintered indoors exhibit improved lipid and protein levels compared to those wintered outdoors. The success of indoor wintering has already changed the overwintering practices of some beekeepers, and facilities are being built in a number of western states.

WSU entomologists are also continuing experiments with a fungus called Metarhizium anisopliae, which is known to kill Varroa mites. Scientists seek to learn whether the fungus is more effective in winter.

“Metarhizium is sensitive to dryness and heat, which has been a limitation in summer use,” said Sheppard. “We are selecting strains that show improved virulence against mites and will be testing them for winter use.”

Learn more about the WSU bee program and the proposed new bee center at http://bees.wsu.edu/.

Give our community a gift, recycle your holiday tree!

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension is one of many volunteer agencies on the committee

Recycle your Christmas tree

Holiday trees are one of the most recognized traditions of the holiday season. They make our homes smell lovely, we can decorate them and they provide a beautiful focal point for gifts. But what happens after the holiday season? Most people simply throw their holiday tree away, yet when they are chipped into mulch, they become a valuable resource. This mulch is used in public gardens and parks across the valley to help conserve soil moisture and keep plants healthy. Recycling your holiday tree is a gift that will keep on giving back to the community.

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension has been involved for 12 years with the Southern Nevada Christmas Tree Recycling Committee. The Committee, consisting of local government agencies, volunteers and business entities, is asking southern Nevadans to give their community a gift and recycle their holiday tree this year.

The community has been recycling trees in southern Nevada for over 15 years and every year, a few more are recycled. Last year, southern Nevada residents recycled over 20,200 trees. Yet, as impressive as that is, that’s a small percentage of the 250,000 trees sold in the community. Last year, over 235,000 trees went to the landfill. Make a difference this year and recycle your cut, holiday tree.

The process is very simple! There are no fees to participate in this community effort; just a short amount of your time is all that is required. Everyone—residents, businesses and organizations—are asked to take their holiday tree to one of over 33 convenient drop sites between December 26 and January 15. Before dropping off your tree, please remove all non-organic objects such as lights, wire, tinsel, ornaments and nails. Foreign objects contaminate the mulch and damage the chipper. Flocked trees cannot be recycled.

To find locations near you, visit Cooperative Extension Clark County website. If you would like to speak to Cooperative Extension’s holiday tree recycling committee member, please email or call Angela O’Callaghan, social horticulture specialist, at 702-257-5581.

Parenting/nutrition education for preschoolers

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension offers literacy & cooking program

Little Books and Little Cooks class at Cambridge Community Center in Aug. 2016.

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension’s Little Books and Little Cooks program is offered in local libraries, centers and schools starting January 2017. The 7-week, no cost workshop series is offered to preschool-age children and their parents.

During the parenting program, children and parents come together to learn about healthy eating and nutrition and to gain positive parent-child interaction skills by reading children’s books about healthy eating/nutrition, cooking and eating together.

Upcoming class dates and locations are:

Monday-Spring Valley Library, Jan. 9-March 6 from 2-3:30 p.m. (4280 S. Jones, Las Vegas, Nev.)

Wednesday-Whitney Library, Jan. 11- Feb. 15 from 3:30-5 p.m. (5175 E. Tropicana, Las Vegas, Nev.)

Thursday-Gibson Library, Jan. 12-Feb. 16 from 1-2:30 p.m. (100 W. Lake Mead, Henderson, Nev.)

Friday-Derfelt Senior Center, Jan. 13-Feb. 24 from 10-11:30 a.m. (3333 W. Washington, Las Vegas, Nev.)

Monday-Enterprise Library, Jan. 23-March 16 from 11:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m. (25 E. Shelbourne Ave., Las Vegas, Nev.)

The elementary schools offering the Little Books and Little Cooks program are Tate, Watson, Sewell, Cortez, Helen Herr and Theriot. Please call 702-257-5565 for class dates and times.

Topics for the classes include: proper hand washing procedures, food safety and kitchen safety rules, USDA MyPlate.gov, benefits of cooking with children, multicultural foods, parents’ feeding style and hunger and fullness cues, picky eating behaviors, and importance of eating fruits and vegetables.

For more information and class schedules, contact Chelle Miller at 702-257-5565 or email YaeBin Kim.

CAHNRS Coug Connections: Claudia Kightlinger

Washington State University Extension News - Mon, 11/28/2016 - 1:43pm

Each week, we will showcase one of our CAHNRS Ambassadors, a student leadership organization that encourages students to pursue higher education and serves as a liaison between the college and the greater community. This week, we’re featuring Claudia Kightlinger, a sophomore from San Diego, Calif.

Claudia Kightlinger

What are you studying?

I’m majoring in Wildlife Ecology, with a minor in Zoology.

What is a fun fact about you?

I have a fear of escalators.

Why WSU?

I got offered an Ignite scholarship for my freshman year and the wildlife ecology program has a lot of hands-on experience.

What is special about being a CAHNRS Coug?

You’re a part of something that encompasses the entire human experience.

Where do you want to be (professionally or personally) 10 years after you graduate?

Professionally: Working in a zoo as a curator for large carnivores.

Personally: Having a lot of travel experience, maybe married with a kid or two.

Favorite class you have taken within CAHNRS so far? Why?

NATRS 300 because it’s my first class dealing with ecology and it comes pretty naturally to me.

Favorite Ferdinand’s flavor of ice cream?

Apple Cup Crisp

Giving peas a chance

Montana State University Extension News - Tue, 11/22/2016 - 12:00am
<p>Windshield views of golden fields against blue skies are synonymous with Montana, and for good reason. However, over the last...

MSU Extension employees and supporters win awards for excellence and service

Montana State University Extension News - Mon, 11/21/2016 - 12:00am
<p>BOZEMAN Montana State University <a href="http://www.msuextension.org/">Extension</a> agents, staff and supporters from across Montana recently received awards during Extensions annual...


Washington State University Extension News - Thu, 11/17/2016 - 4:16pm
Dr. Jim Harbertson WSU associate professor of enology is named 50 Top Leaders by Wine Business Monthly

Harbertson honored by Wine Business Monthly Magazine

WSU associate professor of enology Dr. Jim Harbertson has been honored as one of Wine Business Monthly’s 50 Top leaders!

The magazine selected Dr. Harbertson, one of three wine scientists named, for “moving the ball on phenolic measurement with the Harbertson-Adams Assay.”

Featured in the December 2016 issue, Wine Business Monthly selected 50 leaders that had considerable impact in 2016 and are shaping the wine industry today.


Ravenholt lecture on collecting, interpreting vineyard data

A free talk about using sensors and digital mapping to track vineyard health was presented to about 40 researchers, grape growers and students on Nov. 9.

Held at the Ste. Michelle Wine Estates Washington State University Wine Science Center, the presentation featured the research and expertise of Dr. Terry Bates, director of the Cornell Lake Erie Research and Extension Lab.  Dr. Bates, a national leader in wine and juice grape research and extension, discussed his on-going research project supported by a $6 million federal grant that is part of the USDA’s Specialty Crop Initiative.

Dr. Terry Bates director of the Cornell Lake Erie Research and Extension Lab presents his research during the Ravenholt Lecture Series.

Bates and his multi-disciplinary team of researchers from Carnegie Mellon, Penn State, Newcastle University and the University of California Davis developed and implemented digital mapping technology to gather information on vineyard conditions.

Across the vineyard, mobile sensors take measurements and gather data on soil, crop and canopy conditions.  The data collected by these sensors create maps using software developed by the research team. Growers can then use the maps to identify weaknesses in the vineyard and apply resources to specific areas.

Once in the hands of growers, precision mapping technology like this could prevent crop loss and increase quality, meaning big gains for the wine and juice grape industry.

This free educational event was made possible through an endowment from the Albert R. Ravenholt Foundation.  The Ravenholt Lecture Series brings grape industry professionals to WSU to share their research and professional perspectives.

WAVE research seminar will change formats in 2017

Washington State University Extension News - Thu, 11/17/2016 - 12:09pm

The Washington Advancements in Viticulture and Enology (WAVE), a seminar highlighting research supported by Washington’s wine industry, will expand its format in 2017 to add two condensed sessions to the signature, full-day event.

The seminars, sponsored by the Washington State Wine Commission and Washington State University, are designed to put research results into the hands of grape growers and winemakers and raise awareness of the value of research.

A full day of research for both growers and winemakers is scheduled for April 19 at the Walter Clore Wine and Culinary Center in Prosser, Wash. The signature event, styled after last year’s sold-out, inaugural seminar, will feature six presentations and include lunch and a wine social hour.

In response to comments from those attending WAVE 2016, a shorter and more condensed version called WAVEx will be tailored for vintners and include both research and practical winemaking tips. WAVEx will be held:

  • July 11, Walla Walla Community College’s Viticulture and Enology Institute, Walla Walla, Wash.
  • July 13, Brightwater Center, Woodinville, Wash.

A recap and presentations from WAVE 2016 can be found here.

More information and registration for WAVE 2017 and WAVEx 2017 are coming soon. Look to the Voice of the Vine for updates or contact:

Certificate courses provide flexibility, enhance wine program

Washington State University Extension News - Thu, 11/17/2016 - 11:07am
Certificate students use a pressure chamber instrument during the Fall 2016 Grape Camp

Wine education programs are changing at WSU to meet the needs of a growing and diverse industry.

Since 2006, WSU has offered Bachelor of Science, graduate and certificate programs in Viticulture & Enology through the College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences. In response to growing demand, School of Hospitality Business Management in the Carson College of Business developed a Wine Business Management major and minor.

This January, the School of Hospitality will add the Wine Business Management Certificate Program, expanding the list of wine-related studies offered at WSU.

“The new program is geared toward students from a variety of backgrounds who are interested in the business of wine as a career. This includes those already in the wine or beverage industry wanting additional business knowledge, individuals wanting to make a career change, or those wanting to embark on wine business entrepreneurial activities,” said Robert Harrington, WSU professor of hospitality and wine business management.

Non-credit, professional certificate programs are geared toward those who are seriously interested in working in the wine industry or expanding their knowledge to enhance their current position.  Students have the flexibility to complete the course on their own time in an online format. Students are also required to participate in two weekend experiences held in Washington wine country. These hands-on, face-to-face experiences provide students with an opportunity to network with peers, industry professionals and instructors.

Research winemaker, Richard Larsen (right) and enology certificate students look at grape clusters during Fall 2016 wine camp

Based on current demand for WSU’s other wine-related certificate programs in viticulture and enology, the Wine Business Management Program is expected to be very popular. Since these programs began in 2003, 608 students hailing from 30 states and four countries have received certificates. Currently, prospective students wait up to two years for a seat in the enology program and 6-12 months for viticulture.

“The wait list for the enology certificate is long, but students are willing to wait due to its strong reputation and the weekend camps, which offer valuable networking and hands-on opportunities,” said Theresa Beaver, WSU certificate program coordinator. “Our courses and camps prepare students for the realities of working in the wine industry. After completing our certificate program, many students have advanced their careers in the industry. To date, our students have started 60 wineries and vineyards, many within the Pacific Northwest.”

Students must successfully complete the full program in order to receive the certificate of completion, but self-directed, individual modules are available if they have a particular interest and limited time or financial resources. Certificates are not awarded to those who complete self-directed, individual models.

The online curriculum will prepare students for careers in viticulture, enology, and wine business and is taught by WSU faculty and leaders from the wine industry.

“We have seen tremendous success in the viticulture and enology certificate programs,” said Thomas Henick-Kling, director of the WSU Viticulture & Enology Program. “Not only are students finding jobs but they are becoming entrepreneurs and contribute to the wine industry across the world.”

Enology certificate students practice lab skills during the Fall 2016 Wine Camp

To register for the certificate program in wine business management, visit https://business.wsu.edu/departments/hospitality/wbm-certificate-program/.

For more information or to register for the viticulture and enology certificate programs, visit http://wine.wsu.edu/education/certificate/.


Kaury Balcom, Public Relations and Communications Coordinator, WSU Viticulture & Enology Program, 509-372-7223, kaury.balcom@wsu.edu




Gardening in small places series begins in January

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension offers monthly gardening workshops

Angela O’Callaghan assists a workshop participant with pruning techniques.

Join University of Nevada Cooperative Extension on Saturday, January 14, 2017 for a workshop on Gardening in Small Places: pruning from 8 a.m. to noon. The class, taught by Angela O’Callaghan, is designed to show you the what, when, where, why and how of pruning your landscape to keep your plants healthy and looking like you want them to.

This hands-on class gives you a chance to get a feel for pruning by letting you try your skills on our landscape before doing your own. If you want to get some hands on experience, please bring your pruners, gloves and eye protection. Please do not purchase pruners for this class. One of the topics is tools and we want to discuss what to purchase before you do. We have tools you can try out; however, bring your own gloves. Topics for the pruning workshop cover pruning fruit trees, ornamentals and desert plants. Homeowners and other interested parties are welcome to attend.

There is a $10 fee to cover materials. Class space is limited and pre-registration is required via Eventbrite.com.

For more information about this workshop held at the Lifelong Learning Center (8050 Paradise Road, Las Vegas, Nev.), email or call Elaine Fagin at 702-257-5573.

Cooperative Extension and Rose Society January meeting

Learn how to prune several varieties of roses

Rose pruning.

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension and the South Valley Rose Society are collaborating and offering educational meetings throughout the winter. Free and open to the public, the January 26 topic is Pruning roses.

The New Year begins with the annual pruning session. Consulting Rosarian Steve Schneider will teach pruning techniques for all rose varieties. The class will be broken into small groups and consulting rosarians will prune and explain the nuances of the different varieties: hybrid teas, floribundas, shrubs, miniatures and climbers. Bring your gloves, shears (pruning & lopping), tool wipes and leaf strippers.

All educational meetings are held at 7 p.m. at the Lifelong Learning Center located at 8050 Paradise Road, Las Vegas, Nev. (I-215 and Windmill Lane). For more information, please call or email the Master Gardener Help Desk at 702-257-5555.

MSU Extension offers new MontGuide on transferring a Montana vehicle title after the death of an owner

Montana State University Extension News - Wed, 11/16/2016 - 12:00am
<p>BOZEMAN Montana State University <a href="http://www.msuextension.org/">Extension</a> has published a new <a href="http://store.msuextension.org/">MontGuide</a> which details how to transfer a Montana...

CAHNRS Coug Connections: Devon Griffith

Washington State University Extension News - Tue, 11/15/2016 - 1:50pm

Each week, we will showcase one of our CAHNRS Ambassadors, a student leadership organization that encourages students to pursue higher education and serves as a liaison between the college and the greater community. This week, we’re featuring Devon Griffith, a senior from Manson, Wash.

Devon Griffith

What are you studying?

I’m majoring in Fruit and Vegetable Management (Viticulture emphasis) and minoring in Viticulture and Enology.

What is a fun fact about you?

I am a third generation Coug.

Why WSU?

For me, the energy that surrounds WSU makes for an experience of a lifetime. From the research, football games, and the interconnectedness of the Coug nation, all of these come together to create an experience I had to be a part of.

What is special about being a CAHNRS Coug?

Within CAHNRS, this passion-centric approach of our programs takes the learning process to new levels. The energy following the academics as well as the people surrounding you bring forth a sense of pride and family at school, and that is pretty special to me.

Where do you want to be (professionally or personally) 10 years after you graduate?

In 10 years, I would love to see myself owning and operating my own estate vineyard and winery back home in Lake Chelan.

Favorite class you have taken within CAHNRS so far? Why?

Horticulture/Viticulture and Enology 413: This class focused in on the finite details of viticulture, and I loved getting to learn and understand this process in that depth.

What extracurricular activities have you been involved in within CAHNRS (excluding ambassadors)?

Agriculture Future of America, Gun Club at WSU, and Viticulture and Enology Club.

Favorite Ferdinand’s flavor of ice cream?

Cougar Tracks

Veteran seeks gene for healthier wheat

Washington State University Extension News - Thu, 11/10/2016 - 1:39pm
Jonathan Eagle is a U.S. Air Force veteran and doctoral student in the Department of Plant Pathology.

For Jonathan Eagle, doctoral student in the Washington State University Department of Plant Pathology, service has always been important.

A veteran of the Air Force, he served as a crew chief for multi-million-dollar fighter planes. Today, Eagle is now working to safeguard Washington wheat crops from a devastating disease, while representing fellow students as a senator to the WSU Graduate and Professional Student Association. Eagle is also an ARCS Foundation Scholar, serving a three-year research fellowship, sponsored by WSU President Kirk Schulz. His long-term career goal is to help develop more sustainable crops to feed the planet.

Why did you choose Plant Pathology?

“I grew up around plants. My grandfather started an ornamental nursery more than 50 years ago, that my uncle owns today. I remember filling pots with soil when I was young for a penny a pot, and selling Easter lilies on the corner for a dollar apiece. I had lots of valuable experiences working with my family, which showed me the importance of hard work at a young age.

After the Air Force, taking botany my first semester at Henderson State University in Arkadelphia, Ark., I was amazed at the chemical plasticity of plants and knew that I wanted to do something in the field of botany.”

What do you hope to accomplish as a researcher?

“My goal is to find the genes involved in stripe rust resistance in wheat. This requires looking at resistance pressure in the field, genetic work in the lab, and the development of molecular maps in order to identify resistance genes. Once these genes are found, they can be used in cultivar development to increase stripe rust resistance in the Pacific Northwest and abroad.”

What did you learn from serving in the U.S. Air Force?

“I graduated from Camden Fairview High School in Camden, Ark., in 2005. I didn’t join the Air Force straight out of high school, but decided to after a short time attending college and working. I wasn’t ready for college life and had no idea what I wanted to do. I expected to gain some direction from the Air Force, and signed up as an F-15 crew chief.

Being a crew chief was fun and exciting, but it was also stressful. Most people look to the pilot as a hero, but a pilot’s hero is his crew chief. The crew chief is responsible for regular maintenance for all inspections regarding the readiness of the aircraft, and signs off on it for flight.”

How has serving your country helped inform your education?

“First, it gave me more discipline and focus in my studies. In tech school, I graduated “top maintainer” in my class.

Seeing the world and interacting with new cultures had a profound effect on me, as did the Air Force core values: “Integrity first, service before self, and excellence in all we do.”

I spent two years at Kadena Air Base on Okinawa, Japan, where I got my SCUBA certification and logged many open water dives around the island and nearby Ryukyu Islands.

Service to our country instills a sense of humility that is hard to describe. When I came back to school, I had a whole new perspective. I was there to learn, help others, and excel. There is no doubt in my mind that my experience in the Air Force equipped me for the road ahead.”

Peter Goldmark to give lecture on Wash. public lands

Washington State University Extension News - Thu, 11/10/2016 - 8:38am

Peter Goldmark, Washington’s Commissioner of Public Lands, will give the Foley Invited Lecture on Nov. 15.

Peter Goldmark, Washington’s Commissioner of Public Lands, will give the Foley Invited Lecture, “The Evergreen State: Our Legacy, Our Future,” at noon, Tuesday, Nov. 15, at The Foley Institute, 308 Bryan Hall.

The lecture offers a compelling description of the challenges facing Washington’s natural landscapes, with a vivid overview of the unique forests, grasslands, agricultural areas and waterways being affected by climate change and other issues. Goldmark tells the stories of communities, tribes and individuals on the landscape and describes how our state is trying to cope.

At the heart of the lecture is a profound call to service, asking those who live in the Evergreen State to take action, including work in the state’s natural resource agencies, to protect and conserve our natural heritage.

A scientist, rancher and environmentalist, Goldmark was first elected in 2008 by people across the state to oversee millions of acres of our forests, grasslands and waterways. He has worked to restore Puget Sound, conserve threatened species, battle wildfire, preserve forestry jobs and keep revenue flowing for Washington schools.

A molecular biologist and organic wheat producer, Goldmark has created two new wheat varieties, and published scientific articles in national and international journals. He is a former member of the Washington State University Board of Regents, and a frequent commentator and lecturer on environmental topics.

Pizza, soda and a discussion of public lands are part of the event, which is ponsored by CAHNRS, the College of the Arts and Sciences, The School of the Environment, and The Foley Institute.

Bare root fruit trees pre-orders available

Pre-orders available at University of Nevada Cooperative Extension’s Research Center

It’s time to reserve your bare root fruit tree today. University of Nevada Cooperative Extension’s Research Center and Demonstration Orchard has ordered and prepaid for a variety of bare root fruit trees that will be delivered early next year—sometime in January or early February. All varieties listed grow and produce fruit at the Research Center. The fruit tree varieties can be seen at the Research Center located at 4600 Horse Dr. North Las Vegas, Nev.

Pre-order your bare root fruit trees online. Payment will be made at time of pickup. When the trees arrive, cash or checks made payable to the Board of Regents will be accepted.

The available trees are: Santa Rosa Plum; Sugar Pluerry; 4 in 1 Pluot; 4 in 1 Peach; 4 in 1 Plum; Arkansas Black Spur Apple; Pink Lady Apple; Sundowner Apple; Blenheim Apricot; Goldkist Apricot; Desert Delight Nectarine; Babcock White Peach; Donut Stark Saturn Peach; Earlitreat Peach; Elberta Peach; May Pride Peach; Mid Pride Peach; Red Baron Peach; Ya Li Asian Pear; Fuyu Persimmon; Burgundy Plum; Flavor Supreme Pluot; Splash Pluot; Ambrosia Pomegranate; Pink Satin Pomegranate; and Wonderful Pomegranate.

For more information, email or call Tamara Wynne at 702-786-4361.

CAHNRS Coug Connections: Mackenzie Ellis

Washington State University Extension News - Tue, 11/08/2016 - 12:04pm

Each week, we will showcase one of our CAHNRS Ambassadors, a student leadership organization that encourages students to pursue higher education and serves as a liaison between the college and the greater community. This week, we’re featuring Mackenzie Ellis, a senior (graduating in December!) from Lind, Wash.

Mackenzie Ellis

What are you studying?

I’m majoring in fruit and vegetable management.

What is a fun fact about you?

I am the assistant wine maker at Merry Cellars here in Pullman and my favorite days are the ones I get to spend getting my hands dirty doing jobs around the winery.

Why WSU?

WSU was my best fit after attending community college because I knew I wanted to be a part of the agriculture industry. But I did not have anything set in stone as to what part. I chose WSU because I knew I would have multiple majors to choose from. I stayed because of the incredible people I was given the chance to become family with through my sorority, clubs, and college.

What is special about being a CAHNRS Coug? 

Being a CAHNRS Coug means working towards a major that will always be necessary in our ever-changing world. No matter how much things change in the future we are always going to need people to grow our food, care for our people, and protect our planet.

Where do you want to be (professionally or personally) 10 years after you graduate?

Ten years post graduation I would like to be in a profession that allows me to travel and be an advocate for the future of agriculture. Fingers crossed, I have my student loans paid off by then as well.

Favorite class you have taken within CAHNRS so far? Why?

Viticulture 113 because I feel like I have taken the most from that class as it pertains to my position at Merry Cellars. The class was taught by John Fellman, who always made the class interesting to say the least. I really enjoyed learning about the Champagne making process.

What extracurricular activities have you been involved in within CAHNRS (excluding ambassadors)?

CAHNRS Senate, Viticulture and Enology club, Horticulture Club, Internship through CAHNRS at Merry Cellars, SEAC Steering Committee Member

Favorite Ferdinand’s flavor of ice cream?

Chocolate Peanut Butter, but really anything when it’s in a Grabber.

MSU Extension to present Southeastern Montana Sheep Symposium, Nov. 9 in Broadus

Montana State University Extension News - Mon, 11/07/2016 - 12:00am
<p>BOZEMAN -- Montana State University <a href="http://www.msuextension.org/">Extension</a> will host the Southeastern Montana Sheep Symposium in Broadus, Nov. 9.</p> <p>Extension faculty in...

Researcher fights fungus in apples, pears under storage

Washington State University Extension News - Fri, 11/04/2016 - 3:21pm
Achour Amiri, assistant professor at the WSU Tree Fruit Research & Extension Center in Wenatchee, helps apple growers and packers fight diseases before and after harvest.

WENATCHEE, Wash. – Delving into the secrets of the molds and fungi that can wreck a good apple or pear, Achour Amiri can be found working in packing rooms and warehouses throughout central Washington this time of year.

“Winter is when pathogens start to show up in storage,” said Amiri, assistant professor and researcher at the Washington State University Tree Fruit Research & Extension Center in Wenatchee. He specializes in diseases that spoil tree fruit.

“I visit packers to understand their problems,” he said. “Do they see unusual decay rates or decay that they’re not used to? I try to find out why and deliver solutions.”

Using geographic variability to maximize fungicide use

Apples and pears are stored for months, making them prime targets for molds and fungi. Packers protect them by spraying with fungicides before and right after harvest.

The challenge, Amiri said, is that packers have few options in their fungicide arsenal. In Washington, only three fungicides are permitted to be used postharvest. It can take years for new fungicides to come to market, especially for postharvest use, but when the same fungicides are used too often, pathogens have a better chance of outwitting them.

“It’s just like, in humans, when we take the same antibiotics over and over,” Amiri said. “The treatment doesn’t work anymore.”

His team is testing Washington fruit to find possible geographic variability in pathogens across the state. A clear picture of pathogen populations could help fruit packers make science-based decisions on what and when to spray.

“We are trying to develop best spray practices to slow down or delay development of resistance,” said Amiri. “Our target is to keep our few fungicides useful for the longest period possible.”

At the same time, he is investigating ways to amend pesticide use while efficiently controlling disease. A top priority is researching chemical and biological controls to manage postharvest disease in both the orchard and the packing shed for all tree fruit crops.

Fascinated by fruit, fungi

Apples, pears and cherries grew in Amiri’s childhood home, the foothills of the Atlas Mountains in Algeria.

“We grew fruit in our garden; that familiarity was something that drew me to plant research,” he said. “I chose biology over mathematics because I was attracted to investigating living microorganisms rather than abstractions.”

Attending universities in Algeria, Belgium and France, he worked to fight blue mold, a disease that devastates apple crops in Europe and the United States. He worked at South Carolina’s Clemson University on diseases of peaches and nectarines. At the University of Florida, he researched gray mold, the most devastating disease affecting the U.S. strawberry crop, before coming to WSU in 2015.

Solving problems of resistance, management

In Washington, his top targets include both blue and gray molds as well as bull’s-eye rot and other emerging diseases that strike tree fruit by rotting it from within.

Amiri is fascinated by molds and fungi, more than 80 of which thrive on tree fruit. Some harm the fruit but some are beneficial – they limit development of other pathogens.

Fungi can survive Washington’s freezing winters and hot summers and bypass many known resistance pathways, offering a tantalizing scientific puzzle.

“It’s important for us to understand how climate change and human practices can cause evolution in pathogens,” said Amiri, who is developing tools to predict, detect and measure important microbes. “That will give us better ideas to manage disease.”

• Learn more about WSU tree fruit research at treefruit.wsu.edu.