Plant Pathology

This website reflects work previously conducted by the program of Dr. Richard Smiley, who retired in January 2015. Smiley continues to prepare publications but is no longer conducting experiments in the field, greenhouse or laboratory. Please refer to the website entitled 'Cereal Pathology' to examine current plant pathology research and extension at the Columbia Basin Agricultural Research Center, under the leadership of Dr. Christina Hagerty.

The plant pathology program previously led by Dr. Smiley at CBARC conducted research and extension to understand and control diseases of field crops in a semi-arid region of the Pacific Northwest. Rainfed winter wheat is by far the most important crop in the region, where annual precipitation ranges from 10 to 24 inches (250 to 600 mm), and where most wheat is produced in areas with 10 to 16 inches (250 to 400 mm). Winters are cool and moist, and summers are warm-to-hot and dry. Foliar diseases other than stripe rust are seldom important in the region. Crop rotations are not common mostly because of combinations of climatic and economic factors that favor wheat production. Most  winter wheat in the driest area is produced by alternating the crop (a 10-month growing period) with a 14-month period of fallow between crops. This crop management system favors injury to roots by soilborne plant-pathogenic fungi and plant-parasitic nematodes. These organisms cause chronic to severe  damage to grain yield and grain quality. Options for managing losses caused by these root- and stem-invading organisms are often limited by issues associated with sustainability of soil, quality of air and water, perceptions of citizens, and economics.  This website provides an overview of research that had the goal of developing knowledge upon which growers and their advisors could improve the economic efficiency for producing field crops in the Pacific Northwest.

Research Projects

Recent Publications

Project Leader

Project Staff




Updated on September 26, 2017