Plant Scientists Build on Wheat Research with $1.9 Million NIFA Grant

Plant Scientists Build on Wheat Research with $1.9 Million NIFA Grant
Organic wheat is among the dryland crops studied at the Utah Agricultural Experiment Station's Blue Creek Research Farm in Box Elder County.

Utah State University Associate Professors Jennifer Reeve and Earl Creech were recently awarded more than $1.9 million by the USDA’S National Institute of Food and Agriculture for their ongoing research on organic dryland wheat. The primary goals of their 4-year project are to investigate the effects of compost on water efficiency, soil, and yield and to test new intercropping strategies.

According to the USDA census of certified organic crops, Utah ranks third in the nation for production of organic wheat. Harvesting 33,289 bushels of organic wheat in 2016, Utah farmers were just behind Wyoming’s 33,762 bushels and some distance behind the 92,842 bushels produced in Montana that same year.

“We actually have about 50,000 acres of organic dryland wheat in the great state of Utah,” Creech said. “The farmers are interested in ways to be economically viable. They’re smart people. They’ll sit down and run the numbers. I don’t see any reluctance at all if you feel like that’s what you need to do to pay the bills.”

Reeve and Creech are studying new questions that have come to light during the course of a research project 25 years in the making.

More information on USU's research into organic dryland wheat can be found in the article from USU Today.

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