In the Columbia Basin, soil is a treasure deposited thousands of years ago when glaciers scoured volcanic rock into silt. These highly productive soils help make the Columbia Basin one of the world's premier wheat-producing regions. But in this tough climate, as little as 12 inches of precipitation falls each year.
Dryland agriculture is the focus of research at OSU’s Columbia Basin Agricultural Research Center. Researchers help farmers coax a bounty of grain from land that is blessed with soil but has precious little water. Here, growers depend on rainfall to water crops. Soft white winter wheat is the signature grain, rotated with crops such as barley, legumes, and canola. With facilities in Pendleton and in Moro, OSU researchers study dryland agriculture along with partners Washington State University and the University of Idaho, and with USDA Agricultural Research Service scientists who share the research facilities.