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Ag News

Ag News

January 24, 2016

Virus looks to benefit drought stricken wheat

A particular type of aphid whose population has increased in the Northwest seems to be able to help other aphid species keep a barley virus at bay, while also helping wheat that has been stressed due to the prolonged drought.

University of Idaho researches have simulated conditions in greenhouses and discovered the wheat actually became healthier when exposed to the virus.

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Antibiotic rule changes coming for swine

A final ruling has been passed down from the U.S. Food and Drug Agency changing how antibiotics can be used in feed and water for swine and other food producing animals.

Sarah Smith, regional specialist for animal sciences for WSU Extension in Moses Lake, WA said, “We think (the impact is) going to be quite substantial, especially for small producers in Washington.”

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Gypsy moth eradication in Washington state begins in Spring

Spraying on over 10,000 acres in seven areas of Washington will begin this spring to rid the state of the defoliating moth.

One of the largest efforts against the gypsy moth since the early nineties, the Washington State Department of Agriculture will hold open houses, send postcards and conduct environmental reviews, evaluating the proposed impact on some densely populated areas (including Seattle) before spraying.

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Border Collie is top dog in the west

When it comes to herding sheep and cattle - not to mention hard working, loyal and intelligent - the Border Collie is the breed of choice among ranchers and farmers in the west.

Border Collies are intuitive animals observing and reading temperament as well as discerning between livestock. According to Nick Martinez, a sheep rancher in Moxee, WA who owns 20 Border Collies, the dog is no slacker. “The good thing is they want to work,” Martinez related. “The bad thing is they want to work all the time, even when there’s nothing to do.”

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Underwater gourmet could be the next food of choice

Oregon State University’s Food Innovation Center has some plate offerings that are under the sea but are tasty and highly nutritious.

Seaweed, red algae and dulse are just a few of the items that could be enticing restaurant goers soon. And the folks at OSU have developed of variety that can be farmed, making it a potential new industry on the Oregon Coast and beyond.

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Stouter honeybees being bred to fight off mites

As if pesticides and global deterioration of bee colonies isn’t enough, they also have to fight off mites that feeds on their blood and transmit a virus that suppresses their immune system. But new breeding of bees is helping them to fight back.

A co-op of about 100 beekeepers from Michigan to Tennessee are trying to breed bees with a special queen that will allow them to actually attack the mites before they can harm the bees. Beekeeper Jeff Berta says the bees are proving to be stout. "The bees will take the mite and they will bite the legs," Berta says. "And if they bite a leg off of the mite, the mite will bleed to death. So the bees are actually fighting back.”

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