Field day to highlight wheat research impact on food supply

  • April 24, 2017

At least 3 billion loaves of bread in the Texas Panhandle alone every year – that’s the difference Texas A&M AgriLife Research is making, according to hosts of the annual Wheat Field Day.

Wheat research, and the difference it makes in the food supply chain, will be highlighted during the annual field day May 17 at the Texas A&M AgriLife facilities near Bushland.

AgriLife Research is co-hosting the event with the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service, the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and West Texas A&M University.

Cover Crop Field Day planned at K-State HB Ranch

  • April 24, 2017

Kansas State University will host a Cover Crop Field Day on Friday, May 19 at 9:30 a.m. at the K-State HB Ranch in southeast Trego County. The ranch is at 39008 147 Highway in Brownell, Kansas.

K-State researchers will discuss ongoing research efforts at the HB Ranch evaluating cover crop management options for farmers growing dryland wheat.

WTAMU Faculty Members Win First Place for Research Presentation

  • February 20, 2017

A research poster presentation by two faculty members from the Department of Agricultural Sciences at West Texas A&M University won first place at the Southern Agricultural Economics Association 49th annual meeting Feb. 4-7 in Mobile. Ala.

The award-winning poster by Dr. Bridget Guerrero, assistant professor of agricultural business and economics, and Dr. Lal Almas, professor of agricultural business and economics, was titled as “Impact of Volatile Commodity Prices and Investment Costs on the Economic Feasibility of Subsurface Drip Irrigation.” It was among 45 posters presented.

High tunnel-grown tomatoes go to Amarillo supermarket

  • November 18, 2016

Dr. Charlie Rush is claiming success – tomatoes from a Texas A&M AgriLife Research high tunnel project are being sold in an Amarillo grocery store.

And now the real work begins.

“We delivered tomatoes to United Supermarket in Amarillo, and they were thrilled to get them,” Rush said. “The next day we delivered jalapenos and poblano peppers. We can produce a quality product and there is clearly a market for the produce.

“Now, we need to work on maximizing yields, cropping systems and pest management, provide an economic analysis and convince a few growers to give it a go.” Read more.

Forage sorghum management, hybrids determine silage value

  • October 26, 2016

Unique data for forage sorghums, including varying feed values and management needs of different hybrids, is coming out of a Texas A&M AgriLife trial being conducted near Bushland.

“On the Texas High Plains, forage sorghums are a very good fit with the livestock industry, especially as dairy and beef cattle forage needs increase at the same time as we become water-limited across the Ogallala Aquifer region,” said Dr. Jourdan Bell, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service agronomist in Amarillo.

South Texas irrigation training manual published

  • July 27, 2016

South Texas agricultural irrigators have a new resource available to help them improve irrigation management and water conservation, according to a Texas Water Resources Institute official.

The “South Texas Irrigation Training Program Manual,” a publication of the institute and the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, is available at: http://twri.tamu.edu/publications/educational-materials/2016/em-121/.

Decline of the Ogallala Aquifer has left farmers fearful for their future

  • July 19, 2016

DUMAS — Deep in the Texas Panhandle, where the decline of the Ogallala Aquifer has left farmers fearful for their future, Harold Grall is hoping his field of tiny green corn plants will survive with minimal watering.

“We’re doing everything that we know possible that we can do to conserve water,” Grall, a corn farmer, said as his pickup bounced toward the 120-acre field.

He planted the cornfield later than most, in an effort to capture more summer rainfall and reduce the need for Ogallala water. He also did not water it before planting the corn seeds, a risky move for land parched after three years of drought.

AgriLife Extension helping data-gathering equipment ‘speak’ the same language

  • March 24, 2016

Agriculture production today is very data sensitive and includes many tools with technologies that don’t all work well together. One Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service specialist is bringing a project to the High Plains to change that.

But he needs some producers to do field testing.

Dr. Charles Hillyer, AgriLife Extension irrigation engineering specialist in Amarillo, is part of the Precision Ag Irrigation Leadership, or PAIL, project.

Water conservation policy effectiveness depends on farmer economics

  • December 27, 2015

VERNON – Farming is a business, and the actions of farmers will be based on economics – even when it comes to water conservation, according to a recent study by Texas A&M AgriLife Research.

Extremely small recharge rates in the Ogallala Aquifer indicate depletion is inevitable, and that has policymakers scrambling to find ways to prolong its life and ensure a smooth transition to the dryland production to minimize impacts on the overall economy, said Dr. Seong Park, AgriLife Research economist in Vernon.

AgriLife Extension publications outline agriculture impact to Ogallala Aquifer

  • December 12, 2015

Six publications analyzing the water use of the crop and livestock industry in the Southern Ogallala Aquifer region have been completed by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service specialists.

Water use in the southern Ogallala region has greatly exceeded the recharge rate for the past several decades, leading to a steady decline in the aquifer, said Dr. Steve Amosson, Regents Fellow and AgriLife Extension economist in Amarillo.

This decline and water use in the agricultural sector had many stakeholders questioning whether the economic benefits to the region’s economy justified the agricultural operations water use, Amosson said.

The objectives of the study, supported by the federally funded Ogallala Aquifer Program, was to evaluate the impacts the various agricultural sectors are having on the Ogallala Aquifer, both in water use and economic impact, he said. Read more.

Sen. Pat Roberts recognized as 2015 Friend of Agricultural Economics

  • October 01, 2015

The Council on Food, Agricultural and Resource Economics and the National Association of Agricultural Economics Administrators on Sept. 28 recognized U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kansas, by presenting him the 2015 Friend of Agricultural Economics Award for his employment of economics to policy issues involving agriculture, natural resources, food and nutrition topics....Featherstone also cited Roberts’ support of the Ogallala Aquifer Program, a consortium of researchers from several universities and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which is searching for solutions to the depletion of groundwater from the Ogallala Aquifer. Read more.

Program is recognized with prestigious award

  • September 14, 2015

Through the years, the Ogallala Aquifer Program (OAP) has won several awards for its work on improving the sustainability of agricultural industries and rural communities in the region through innovative scientific research and technology transfer.

In 2013, the program received the Honor Award for Excellence from the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture for sustaining rural prosperity on the drought-prone Southern High Plains by finding solutions to problems arising from declining water in the Ogallala Aquifer. Read more.

Decline of Ogallala Aquifer tackled by multi-state group of researchers

  • September 14, 2015

The Ogallala Aquifer, stretching from South Dakota to Texas, covers 174,000 square miles, including 36,080 square miles in the Texas High Plains. In western Kansas and the Texas High Plains, the aquifer is declining at an unacceptable rate. Aquifer depletion rates of 1 to 3 feet per year are common in that region, and recharges are very small. Water availability, cost and policy, together with technology development and adoption rates, are reshaping the rural landscape.

In 2003 a multi-state group of researchers tackled the problems associated with aquifer decline, and since then the Ogallala Aquifer Program has addressed the complex issues related to sustaining the Ogallala Aquifer and maintaining a stable rural economy. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service (ARS), with identified project funds provided by Congress, funds the project.

Vegetable study targets water savings in the High Plains

  • April 09, 2015

Vegetable production is not new in the Texas High Plains, but it is being re-examined in a Texas A&M AgriLife Research study to see if it might offer a water-savings alternative to some cereal grain production.

“Everybody knows we are generally water short in the Texas High Plains and can no longer meet 100 percent of all crop water needs,” said Thomas Marek, AgriLife Research senior research engineer for irrigation water conservation and management in Amarillo. “We grow a tremendous amount of corn for the cattle industry. And we know from our regional water plan that corn production is going to have to be reduced in the future.”

Research seeks early detection of wheat streak mosaic virus

  • April 06, 2015

As spring growth of wheat begins, Texas A&M AgriLife Research studies indicate now might be the time to determine possible wheat streak mosaic virus infection and future management of the crop.

During the past three years, the AgriLife Research plant pathology and crop physiology programs in Amarillo have concentrated studies on the occurrence of wheat streak mosaic disease and how it impacts a crop’s water-use efficiency. The disease is caused by a virus transmitted by the wheat curl mite.

Texas Tech Ogallala Aquifer Research Team Wins National USDA Award

  • January 14, 2014

The depletion of the Ogallala Aquifer has made headlines the past several years and has been a concern to many who live on the Southern Great Plains region, including the Texas High Plains, along with portions of Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico and Oklahoma. The aquifer encompasses more than 170,000 square miles, making it a sizeable and vital water resource.

Ogallala Aquifer Preservation Program Wins Big Award

  • January 14, 2014

The Ogallala Aquifer is life to the high plains.  The depletion of that resource moved Kansas State University, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service, Texas Tech University, Texas A&M University, and West Texas A&M University to team up and work together to preserve the vital resource according to the High Plains Journal

Mobile Drip Irrigation Seeking Foothold in Western Kansas Farm Fields

  • January 01, 0001

In a region where some of the United States’ most productive farmland lies, Kansas State University researchers are putting a water-saving technology on the fast track.

Agricultural engineer Isaya Kisekka said he and other faculty in the university’s Southwest Research and Extension Center are finding ways to retrofit center pivot sprinklers with mobile drip irrigation tubes.