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US: OSU officials mull future of ag facility

Six-month-old potato plants grow in Powell Butte, Ore., exposed to varying rates of Globodera ellingtonae nematodes. The trials have shown the previously uncharacterized nematode doesn’t seem to hurt potato yields. Oregon State University officials are mulling options for the future of a local research farm that’s been put to little use since 2010, due to the discovery of a previously unknown species of potato cyst nematode. OSU’s 80-acre Central Oregon Agricultural Research Center in Powell Butte once filled a crucial role in the Tri-state Potato Breeding Program — expanding experimental potato seed developed collaboratively by OSU, University of Idaho and Washington State University. Forage researchers also used the facility. But in recent years, the sole project in Powell Butte has been evaluating the potential for a newly discovered PCN species, Globodera ellingtonae, to damage commercial potato crops. Though G. ellingtonae reproduces rapidly on spuds, the trials, which concluded in 2015, produced no evidence that the pest affects tuber quality or yield. Researchers also found no visual symptoms of nematode damage among plants in infested fields. More

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