Research Program Contributions
Scientists working at this Research Center have provided solutions
to agricultural problems specific to the Arkansas Valley and
have contributed to solutions for area-wide or multi-state problems.
Research has developed information on the adaptation of crops
and varieties to the soil and climate of the Valley, introduced
new superior varieties, improved cultural practices and set guidelines
for the management of pests, soil fertility and water.
Some of the contributions to the agricultural industry of
the Arkansas Valley include:
- Development of the first rust resistant cantaloupe, which,
in fact saved the cantaloupe industry of the Valley at the turn
of the Century.
- Introduction and development of semi-Dormant alfalfa varieties
which resulted in substantially increased acreage in the Valley
because these varieties could take full advantage of the growing
season here when compared to the highly dormant northern varieties
and yet survive our winters when compared to the non-hardy southern
- Determining the content of Valley soils and the effect on
crop production, particularly alfalfa seed and beet sugar purity.
- Breeding and release of the sweet Spanish onion variety,
Colorado 6, in 1936, which after sixty years, is still a significant
factor in the onion producing areas of the Valley.
- Setting guidelines for fertilizer recommendations and application
practices for alfalfa, corn, sugar beets and onions.
- Developing management practices for foliage and root diseases
and storage decay in onions.
- Seeding rates and raw spacing determinations for corn, sorghum
and onions which improved production efficiency and yields.
- Weed management practices for alfalfa, corn, sorghum, onions
and melons along with soil incorporation methods for use with
herbicides in this semi-arid region when it was discovered practices
for applying these herbicides in high rainfall regions were not
- Guidelines for the management of alfalfa weevil on alfalfa,
Banks grass mite on corn, greenbug on sorghum and thrips on onions.
- Frequent early season irrigations result in a shallow corn
root system. Withholding water, after filling the profile, will
force root growth through the whole profile. This has resulted
in a 25 bushel yield increase when water shortages occur late
in the season.
- Conservation tillage techniques for corn resulted in corn
yields remaining stable after six continuous years while reducing
labor and energy costs. Alfalfa ground prepared for corn planting
with reduced tillage (disc) or moldboard plow resulted in comparable
corn yields. Reduced tillage results in greater return to the
producer due to lower costs.
- The use of transplants, plastic mulch, drip irrigation and
combinations thereof results in earlier harvest, substantial
yield increase, quality enhancement and an aid to weed management
for a number of vegetable crops.
- Variety trials throughout the years have provided growers
with timely information on the inherent genetic ability of the
numerous commercial varieties to produce under the climatic,
soil, pest and water conditions of the Valley. There are almost
no commercial breeding and seed production facilities in the
area and these trials allow growers to determine which of the
many varieties produced in other areas may perform well in the