Fruits and vegetables grown using organic methods are quite common, especially in Oregon. Every day, consumer demand dictates that more and more produce is grown in sustainable ways. This includes grains, and research being done in Oregon State’s Crop Science program is part of a national trend to assess and implement alternative grain production practices. Natalie Graham, a graduate student in Pat Hayes’ lab, wants to bring organic production methods to growing barley, the grain commonly used in beer brewing, baking and as animal feed.
In the last year, Graham’s team planted a variety of barley called Maja at the Lewis-Brown Horticultural Research Farm. They used completely organic methods for the trial, and recent harvest has shown a greater yield than expected.
“For so long, whenever there would be a problem in the field, the answer would be ‘add a chemical.’ We’re now proving that’s not always the answer,” said Graham.