WSU Dryland Experiment Station road sign from when Walter Nelson was the director.

History of the Lind Station

The Dryland Research Station at Lind was established in 1915 to “promote the betterment of dryland farming” in the 8- to 12-inch rainfall zone in eastern Washington. Adams County deeded 320 acres to WSU for this purpose. Research efforts throughout the years have largely centered on wheat. Wheat breeding, variety adaptation, weed and disease control, soil fertility, erosion control, and residue management are the main research priorities. The Washington Wheat Commission has been a major contributor to facility development at the Dryland Research Station. One thousand acres of additional land was transferred to the Dryland Research Station by the Washington State Legislature in 1997.

In early years, the Dryland Research Station received adequate public support for personnel, equipment, station improvements, and maintenance. Public support has declined dramatically during the past twenty years. The future of farming in dry areas of eastern Washington depends on a dynamic program of continuing research. Private donations are needed to ensure a permanent annual income to enhance research at the Dryland Research Station. Endowment funds are not used as replacement funds for costs covered by state appropriations. Please see our Endowments page for more information about the Endowments that support the Lind Station.

Research Activities

The following partial listing of past and present scientific investigations at the Dryland Research Station illustrates the diverse needs of growers in low-rainfall dryland areas:

  • Develop and test winter wheat and spring wheat varieties.
  • Develop winter club and soft white winter wheat varieties adapted to the dryland areas which have the ability to emerge from deep planting.
  • Select and test early generation and advanced breeding lines of barley varieties.
  • Evaluate end-use quality of wheat and barley varieties and experimental breeding lines to meet the rigorous demands of domestic and overseas customers.
  • Evaluate no-till management systems for annual spring cropping.
  • Evaluate soil ripping and surface pitting after winter wheat seeding to reduce erosion on frozen soil and improve over winter water storage.
  • Investigate long-term cropping systems for profitable and sustainable production in dryland areas.
  • Evaluate tillage, residue and crop management systems for returning CRP to crop production.
  • Adaptation of alternative crops for low-rainfall dryland areas.
  • Suppression of downy brome and jointed goatgrass with rhizobacteria.
  • Russian thistle competition with winter wheat and spring wheat.
  • Postharvest water use by Russian thistle.
  • Chemical control of downy brome in winter wheat.
  • Chemical control of Russian thistle in winter wheat and spring wheat.
  •  Identify wheat varieties and plant traits that enhance competition with jointed goatgrass.
  • Screen for root disease reaction as part of no-till spring cereal root disease evaluation and control experiments.
  • Wind and dust measurements, supplemented by a portable wind tunnel, to provide predictions for wind erosion and associated fugitive dust emissions associated with varying roughness and residue conditions.
  • Dryland adaptation of several perennial grasses for forage and erosion control.
  • Experimental tree plantings to determine varieties useful for erosion control, shade, and wind abatement on farmsteads and fields.