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 varieties.
- 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 successful here.
- 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 Valley