CORVALLIS, Ore.-The Agricultural Research Foundation has awarded $398,790 to fund 33 Oregon State University research projects for 2011-2013. The projects range from increasing marketability of Oregon potatoes to studying how yeast supplements improve the immune system functions of dairy cows.
The grants, most of which were in the $11,000 to $12,500 range, were awarded through the foundation's competitive grants program, which offers seed money for research that may result in a positive economic impact to Oregon's agricultural industries.
OSU entomologist Sujaya Rao was the only lead researcher to earn two grants in this award period. One of her studies will look at using bumble bees to enhance pollination in greenhouse crops. Honey bees don't perform well within confined spaces, and manual pollination is tedious and expensive, so bumble bees might be a practical alternative, Rao said.
Rao's other project will examine how to manage clover crown borer, a pest that damages red clover seed crops.
Other projects receiving grants include amending soil for healthier, more water-efficient turfgrass; evaluating the role of nutrition in honey bee colony losses; and the feasibility of using bio-waste solids generated by a new green energy facility as peat moss substitute.
The Agricultural Research Foundation is a private, non-profit corporation and an affiliate of OSU. The board of directors is made up of representatives of Oregon's agriculture industry.