Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Wine, Apples, Beef

Posted by | January 10, 2007

It’s a Fact

Wine grapes are grown on more than
30,000 acres in the state. Approximately 18 million gallons of wine are
produced in Washington with an estimated retail value of more than $685
million. The total economic impact of the wine industry on Washington
state is estimated at $3 billion. For more information, please visit:

On Solid Ground is a weekly, electronic newsletter for the friends and stakeholders of the Washington State University College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences (CAHNRS), WSU Extension and the WSU Agricultural Research Center.

Reducing Losses by Reducing Rots

One bad apple really can spoil the whole bunch. For the tree-fruit industry post-harvest rots in apples and pears can result in losses of 50 to 60 percent in storage bins, costing the industry millions of dollars annually. Thanks to the research of WSU plant pathologist Chang-Lin Xiao at the Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center in Wenatchee, the industry is well on its way to significantly reducing losses due to rots.

Over the past five years, Xiao has discovered three new pathogens responsible for as much as one-fifth of the losses resulting from post-harvest decay in Red Delicious apples and one-third of losses in d’Anjou pears in Washington state.

The pathogens colonize the fruit while still in the orchard but remain latent until after harvest. The solution is a fungicide treatment, either pre- or post-harvest. Xiao advocates better communication between orchardists and fruit packers to coordinate the different fungicide applications they use. “Pre-harvest treatment is effective and by reducing the need for post-harvest treatment it also helps to avoid these pathogens developing resistance to post-harvest fungicides,” Xiao said.

For more information, please visit:

Better Beef is in the Genes

Getting consistently good-tasting, juicy steaks at the supermarket may soon get a bit easier. That’s because scientists in Washington State University’s Department of Animal Sciences have identified genetic links to marbling and subcutaneous fat depth in beef cattle. Marbling is the flecks of fat in muscle that contribute to flavor, tenderness and juiciness. Professor Zhihua Jiang and his teams of researchers have identified genetic markers associated with beef marbling.

If the teams’ research can be broadly applied, the speed and accuracy of genetic selection in beef breeding could be substantially increased. This would benefit beef producers as well as consumers because greater marbling translates into higher beef grades and higher returns. How much higher? A bull with the genetic markers “would produce about 30 choice and 20 select calves” while a bull without them “would produce the reverse,” said Jan Busboom, WSU Extension meats specialist. “The price spread recently between choice and select was $20 per hundred weight of carcass. The increase in yield of choice beef would be worth about $1,500 to the producer in just one year.”

For more information, please visit: