Specific projects currently being conducted at Plainsman Research Center include:
- Russian Wheat Aphid (RWA) Studies – a major problem for wheat production in Colorado, infestation with this insect has been a serious problem only since 1985. Field experiments are evaluating the following aspects of this problem:
- Crop rotation and cattle grazing on RWA populations and other economic pests.
- Economic injury level of RWA in relation to climate and resistant and non-resistant wheat varieties.
- Gaucho-treated seed of spring wheat and barley as RWA control.
- Wheat nursery with hundreds of lines of wheat are evaluated for seed yield and resistance to RWA.
Studies related to the RWA project are conducted by Thia Walker, Regional RWA Entomologist, and Dr. James Quick, CSU Wheat Breeder, as well as staff from the crops testing programs.
- Wheat Forage and Grain Yield – determine forage and grain yields from large varietal wheat strips.
- Limited Irrigation on Corn and Grain Sorghum – hybrids of corn and sorghum are grown under surge furrow irrigation with one pre-irrigation and one in-season irrigation at silking or flowering. Limited irrigation under Low Energy Precision Application (LEPA) sprinkler is also being evaluated.
- Crop Rotation Systems – commonly used rotation systems are studied under limited tillage (wheat-fallow, wheat-sorghum-fallow, continuous grain sorghum) with crop yield and water use being emphasized.
- Sorghum Grain and Forage Variety Trials – replicated studies of potential hybrids are evaluated for yield, maturity date, plant height, and other agronomic factors under dryland and irrigated conditions.
- Fertilizer Studies on Grain Sorghum and Wheat – rates of N, P, and Zn are tested for maximum economic yield.
- Herbicide Efficacy Studies – herbicides are evaluated for effectiveness in controlling the normal weed complexes in grain sorghum, wheat, corn, and alternative crops.
- Soil Crusting Alleviation – nonionic surfactants are applied to abate soil crusting in grain sorghum fields.
- Ripping and Chemical Soil Conditioners – ripping and chemical soil conditioners are tested for their relief of soil compaction.
- Corn Borer Resistant Corn Hybrids – corn borer resistant and non- resistant hybrids are monitored for Southwestern Corn Borer damage under dryland and irrigated conditions. If these new hybrids are effective, dryland corn may become a viable option in traditional sorghum areas.
- Sunflower Planting Dates and Insect Evaluation – planting dates of sunflower are studied for insect timing and infestation as it affects seed yields.
- Alternative Crops – determine yield potential and management practices for canola, millets, safflower, various beans, and others.