Sep 5, 2012 6:23 PM by Lacey Steele

Efficient farming methods researched in Rocky Ford

When you get ready to eat dinner with you family, take a closer look at those vegetables.

What you may not know is that some of them have been genetically modified.

We found out more on the research that's making farming more efficient.

It's been around for over 120 years: the Arkansas Valley Research Center owned by Colorado State University.

"People ask me, 'What is agriculture?'" said Michael Bartolo, Senior Research Scientist at the Arkansas Valley Research Center. "Well, everybody's in agriculture. Anybody that eats needs agriculture, and so we've got to be able to sustain more and more people all the time."

Their job is solely research.

"So we've looked at new crops, new production techniques, and new technologies that come onto the scene and see how well we can adapt them for growers here in the Arkansas Valley," said Bartolo.

Like alfalfa, which has a gene modified in it's DNA to resist certain chemicals.

"Roundup being a relatively environmentally safe chemical, we can go in and over spray this crop, remove the weeds without injuring the crop," said Bartolo.

Plus, genetically modified corn.

"Because it contains the gene that makes it resistant to that worm, and so we're trying to see, again, if that technology is adapted for here in Southeastern Colorado," said Bartolo.

Since this area is known for being dry, irrigation is key.

First they study old techniques, like onions with channels for water.

"This is just one of a number of ways that we're trying to look to see if we can make the irrigation much more efficient," said Bartolo.

They've found a drip line works well with peppers.

"This is just small diameter plastic tubing with an emitter or hole spaced every 12 inches," said Bartolo. "We're able to reduce the consumptive use of water by about 25 or 30% but increase the yield by about that much."

Like with all research, it's trial and error, all in an effort to create a more efficient crop.

Click here if you want information from the research center on methods they discover.



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