Budget Surprises & Stripe Rust Prediction
State lawmakers didn’t make the drastic cuts to Washington’s higher education system that had previously been expected. The approved budget also includes provisions for WSU to increase engineering enrollment to help the state’s growing aerospace industry. And ground breaking plans for the Wine Science Center at Washington State University Tri-Cities will move forward in 2013 thanks to the $5 million included in the state budget. Dr. Thomas Henick-Kling, director of WSU's viticulture and enology program talks about the center’s primary focus.
HENICK-KLING: Our research focus is sustainability, and we’ll focus on the wine quality aspect, understanding what are the flavors that make Washington state wines unique - how do we manage them, how do we impact them with different vineyard management techniques, different growing environments, wine making techniques.
In 2011 stripe rust caused severe losses for wheat producers in terms of yield and treatment costs across much of Washington, but according to WSU plant pathologist, Xianming Chen, occurrence of the disease is lower than at this date last year. On April 4th Chen reported no stripe rust found on commercial fields in eastern Washington, except in susceptible varieties on border rows in an experimental breeding nursery in Garfield County. Indications were that the disease had developed in the fall and had overwintered. Chen advised that, based on current prediction and field observations, stripe rust will definitely not be as severe as 2011, and that applications of fungicides may not be necessary until stripe rust is seen in fields.
I’m Lacy Gray and that’s Washington Ag Today on the Northwest Ag Information Network.