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College of Agricultural & Life Sciences

Physical Address:
E. J. Iddings Agricultural Science Laboratory, Room 52
606 S Rayburn St

Mailing Address:
875 Perimeter Drive MS 2331
Moscow, ID 83844-2331

Phone: 208-885-6681

Fax: 208-885-6654



Catching Up with CALS — Jan. 23, 2019

Dean's Message — Making Room

CALS appearance before Joint Finance Appropriations Committee this week offered the chance to review and report on how we spend state funding.

The U of I presentation by President Chuck Staben begins at 8 a.m. today (Wednesday) and I will follow with the CALS presentation. Both will be live streamed on Idaho Public Television’s online legislative portal

Two years ago, legislators funded the college’s request to improve housing for graduate students at the Aberdeen Research and Extension Center. This year we will provide an update and photos of what we accomplished.

Legislators' focus on students is clearly appropriate and is in line with CALS’ mission to educate students to improve their lives and to equip them to help society. The education of graduate students is more closely connected to our research mission as these students are often supported by dollars from agricultural commissions in Idaho and are part of a larger research agenda conducted by a faculty member.

The housing at Aberdeen allows greater opportunity for these students to participate in the actual practice of research and extension by working with our scientists and specialists. The housing at Aberdeen is also available to undergraduates interested in an on-site/in-field research experience. We are focused on expanding these opportunities for undergraduates in CALS as well.

We plan to improve housing at other sites, too. Work on the new classroom and office building at the Nancy M. Cummings Research, Extension and Education Center near Salmon is showing substantial progress. The foundation and floors are in and so are the walls.

Once that building is done, the new offices will allow us to repurpose the old office space for housing.

Our new Sandpoint Organic Agriculture Center provided as close to a turn-key acquisition as CALS could hope for. Its dormitory offers comfortable student accommodations and a separate three-bedroom cottage can provide a private space for visiting scientists.

Focusing on expansion of the Parma Research and Extension Center will be a priority in 2019. This is a larger, more comprehensive project involving multiple agricultural commodities and stakeholders that will require considerable effort and more coordination.

In Moscow, legislative funding helped refurbish graduate student office space in the Iddings Agricultural Sciences Building.

Our message to legislators is a brief one: we recognize the state’s investment in the college to expand opportunities for students, and we are enthusiastically following through on this opportunity.

Michael P Parrella, dean of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences

Michael P. Parrella

College of Agricultural and Life Sciences

By the Numbers

Northern Idaho produced the most winter wheat during 2018, the National Agricultural Statistics Service showed in a recent report. With 28,505,000 bushels, the region from Idaho County north to the Canadian border ranked first statewide. Production for Latah, Nez Perce and Shoshone counties were not disclosed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture agency. The state’s highest winter wheat producing county listed was Bingham County with 8,500,000 bushels. Idaho’s leading spring wheat region was Eastern Idaho, which produced 29,953,000 bushels. Bingham County was tops among Idaho’s largest spring wheat producer with 6,991,000 bushels listed by NASS in its Dec. 14 report. Among barley regions Eastern Idaho won there, too, with 31,615,000 bushels. NASS reported Bingham County as the highest barley producer listed with 2,280,000 bushels.

Our Stories — 7 New Oilseed Varieties Brighten Crop Palette

The University of Idaho plans to release seven new oilseed varieties to farmers this spring, including five canola, rapeseed and mustard varieties tolerant to herbicides commonly used in wheat and legume production.A canola blooms at the Palouse Research, Extension and Education Center's Kambitsch Farm near Genesee.

The new varieties include canola, which is prized for its edible oil; rapeseed, which is prized for its industrial oil; and mustards, both white and brown, prized as condiments, for their oil and as soil fumigants.

Two new varieties, Syringa spring canola and Cataldo spring rapeseed offer farmers a new class of oilseed crops that are resistant to both Group 2 herbicides including imidazolinones-IMI’s and glyphosate, most commonly known as Roundup®, widely used in Pacific Northwest crop rotations.

“Both of these varieties offer growers significantly more flexibility in their crop rotations,” U of I oilseed breeder Jack Brown said. In addition, all of the new varieties offer yields and quality characteristics that exceed existing varieties.

U of I oilseed research scientist Jim B. Davis will announce release of the new varieties Jan. 25 in Clarkston, Washington, during a conference sponsored by Washington State University and Washington Oilseed Cropping Systems, Brown said. More information about the conference is available online (

The dual herbicide tolerance allows farmers growing wheat or pulse crops the opportunity to plant either variety immediately after using IMI herbicides. Current canola, mustard and rapeseed crops requires a three- or six-year plant-back restriction after application of the popular IMI-based herbicides including Pursuit® and Beyond®.

The tolerance of Syringa and Cataldo to glyphosate also will allow farmers to use Roundup-like herbicides during the growing season for weed control.

Yield of winter wheat is markedly increased following oilseed crops like canola, rapeseed and mustard, which also can improve soil health and reduce the severity of following crop diseases, Brown’s past research showed. However, the rapid expansion of the IMI Beyond® herbicide use by wheat farmers to control grass and broadleaf weeds has complicated farmers’ use of the major Brassica family oilseeds.

The other three new IMI-tolerant oilseed varieties includes Chinook winter canola, Impress winter rapeseed and ‘Bruin’ brown Indian condiment mustard.

The U of I oilseed program will also release Industrious spring rapeseed that offers excellent adaptability across Northwest environments with high content of excellent quality oil.

The program’s new Monarch spring canola features high oleic low linolenic (HOLL) oil which is prized for use as fry oil by restaurants and food processors. It is used in fry processing as a nonhydrogenated, trans-fat free oil for fry processing with a long shelf-life.

UI Extension Plans Cereal Schools Across Southern Idaho

University of Idaho Extension will sponsor a series of five day-long cereal schools across southeastern and south central Idaho Feb. 4-8 to inform farmers about research developments and changing policies and technologies.

The dates and locations of programs in the series include:

  • Feb. 4 at the College of Eastern Idaho, 1600 S. 25th E., Idaho Falls
  • Feb. 5 at Morey’s Steak House, 219 E. Third St., Burley
  • Feb. 6 at Red Lion Hotel, 1555 Pocatello Creek Road, Pocatello
  • Feb. 7 at Trails Inn Restaurant, 213 Second St., Ashton
  • Feb. 8 at Robinson Building, Franklin County Fairgrounds, 186 W. Second N., Preston

The sessions will begin at 8:30 a.m. with registration and conclude in the afternoon. All will include a lunch sponsored by the Idaho Wheat Commission and the Idaho Barley Commission.

The schools will feature an array of U of I and grain industry experts. Sessions will include information on pest and disease issues, markets, variety trials, storage and others.

Idaho pesticide applicator and certified crop advisor credits will be available.

A $20 registration fee will be charged to defray the costs of each session.

More information is available from the University of Idaho Extension, Madison County office by calling 208-356-3191.

Faces and Places

U of I Margaret Ritchie School of Family and Consumer Sciences and FCS Expert-in-Residence Candi Bailey will present a Valentine’s Cookie Decorating Class Thursday, Feb. 9, and Tuesday, Feb. 12, both from 6-9 p.m. The cost will be $50 for the public or $25 for students for each session and participants will craft 10 cookies apiece. More information is available from


  • Jan. 23 — CALS presentation to the Idaho Legislature Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee, Boise, 9:10 a.m. MT
  • Jan. 29 — U of I's Center for Health in the Human Ecosystem: An Overview, Idaho Commons, Whitewater, 12:30-1:30 p.m.
  • Feb. 4 — UI Extension Cereal School, College of Eastern Idaho, 1600 S. 25th E., Idaho Falls, registration 8:30 a.m. MT
  • Feb. 5 — UI Extension Cereal School, Morey’s Steak House, 219 E. Third St., Burley, registration 8:30 a.m. MT
  • Feb. 5-7 — Spokane Ag Expo
  • Feb. 6 — UI Extension Cereal School, Red Lion Hotel, 1555 Pocatello Creek Road, Pocatello, registration 8:30 a.m. MT
  • Feb. 7 — UI Extension Cereal School, Trails Inn Restaurant, 213 Second St., Ashton, registration 8:30 a.m. MT
  • Feb. 8 — UI Extension Cereal School, Robinson Building, Franklin County Fairgrounds, 186 W. Second N., Preston, registration 8:30 a.m. MT
  • Feb. 18 — Dean’s Advisory Board meeting, Boise
  • Feb. 19 — Larry Branen Ag Summit

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College of Agricultural & Life Sciences

Physical Address:
E. J. Iddings Agricultural Science Laboratory, Room 52
606 S Rayburn St

Mailing Address:
875 Perimeter Drive MS 2331
Moscow, ID 83844-2331

Phone: 208-885-6681

Fax: 208-885-6654