2011 Colorado State University
Combined Research and Extension
Annual Report of Accomplishments and Results
The Agricultural Experiment Station (AES) and Extension at Colorado State University are committed to excellence in basic and applied research and translation of this research through Extension programs to clientele and others. Extension continues to emphasize non-formal education and transfer of knowledge to audiences throughout the state, based on research information from the AES, the colleges of Agricultural Sciences, Applied Human Sciences, Engineering, Veterinary Medicine and Natural Resources. Programs emphasize best management practices in addressing issues that affect Coloradans. Data for this report were provided through the Extension “Colorado Planning and Reporting System (CPRS).” Plans of Work were submitted by Work Teams, and individuals linked to them in creating their own Plans to Invest. During the program year, individuals entered program data, and reports were generated during the first quarter of 2012. While every Planned Program has many, many knowledge (learning) outcomes, this report only documents behavior (action) outcomes. The previous POW listed planned outcomes as percentages of participants reporting change. The CPRS data are numbers of participants only. Therefore, many outcomes listed are marked “not reporting” for 2011 as no percentages are available. An unintended consequence of the adoption of CPRS has resulted in differences in scope and reporting of program areas by the AES and Extension. These differences will be addressed in the updated Plan of Work and the 2012 Integrated Report.
4-H Youth Development
Extension Program Goals: 4-H affects positive change in life skills (including leadership, citizenship, decision making, and communication) and in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) — including interest, knowledge, and application of science process skills — for youth ages 5 to 18.
New Programs, and/or Addressing NIFA Priorities: STEM priority benefits from available and developing content and resource support from National 4-H Headquarters, Colorado State University, Extension, and county partners.
Ongoing, Consistent, and/or Successful Programs: Colorado State University Extension reaches Colorado’s K-12 youth through 4-H youth development programs in 4-H clubs, after-school and school enrichment. Development of volunteers who provide much of the leadership for 4-H, and private fund raising are associated activities. 4-H Youth Development emphasizes personal growth of young people through experiential learning with well-designed curricula and projects. Cross-cutting or Cross-disciplinary Initiatives: Most 4-H Youth Development programs, while focusing on youth development, are built around content that may be supported by one or more college-based specialists.
Family Economic Stability
Extension Program Goals: Family Economic Stability programs affect positive change in participants’ financial knowledge and skills, contributing to their ability to avoid bankruptcy, economic crisis, loss of jobs, and other money-related difficulties. AgrAbility programs help farmers avoid accidents and reduce the incidence of serious injury and disability.
New Programs, and/or Addressing NIFA Priorities: DollarWorks2
Ongoing, Consistent, and/or Successful Programs: Family and Consumer Science (FCS) programs are experiencing change, driven by a need to focus expertise and programs that are available to meet the needs of Coloradoans. CSU Extension programs now seek to provide applied research and Extension education in a coordinated set of programs related to nutrition and health, food safety, and family economic stability. Financial stability of families is the area of focus for non-nutrition FCS programming. Colorado families’ financial instability includes increasing rates of bankruptcy, economic crises and loss of jobs. Working in partnership with state and nongovernmental agencies, agents deliver DollarWorks2 and other curricula relevant to individuals and families in difficult economic times. A content specialist started January 3, 2011, to support this work. Work teams in parenting and healthy homes have been suspended in order to keep attention on the three determined focus areas for programming. AgrAbility programming continues.
Cross-cutting or Cross-disciplinary Initiatives: Consumer economics is a vehicle that can assist 4-H in reaching STEM targets.
Extension Food Safety programs will reduce the economic burden and human suffering that can be caused by food-borne illness in the US.
New Programs, and/or Addressing NIFA Priorities: Food Safety is now structured as a stand-alone Extension Work Team in order to more fully address the NIFA priority. Food Safety education may be integrated into other Work Teams so that they are not limited to program delivery by FCS agents.
Ongoing, Consistent, and/or Successful Programs: These work team members participated in the FCS focusing activity in June, 2009, and have specific outcome targets and indicators by which they collect their statewide data. Food Safety indicators, including effective hand washing, safe food preservation, and proper food temperature, are addressed through these activities:
- Food safety training for food service managers and employees;
- Food safety education for high risk audiences, their caregivers, and health care professionals;
- Food safety information for consumers including Farmers’ Market vendors and their customers.
Cross-cutting or Cross-disciplinary Initiatives: See AES Nutrition and Health for AES Food Safety program reporting.
Global Food Security and Hunger – Animal Production Systems
Extension Program Goals: Adoption of improved and productive and sustainable agriculture systems will assure communities, families, and individuals have enough food to eat, and that hunger is not a factor in their well-being.
New Programs, and/or Addressing NIFA Priorities:
Ongoing, Consistent, and/or Successful Programs: Extension outreach spans the breadth of the topics of research to assure that industry participants have practical knowledge in modern beef, dairy, and sheep production systems, biosecurity, economic and risk management, and response to policy and consumer changes. Outreach to youth involved in livestock production and judging events continues as part of experiential learning in 4-H, FFA, and college judging. Producers realize increased prices and lower cost of production. Consumers benefit from higher human nutritional values of food.
Cross-cutting or Cross-disciplinary Initiatives: Global Food Security and Hunger work, of necessity, includes animal and plant production systems and integrates Extension education in disseminating research results. CSU Extension:
- Delivers workshops and educational classes for producers;
- Communicates results through demonstrations and field days;
- Provides individual counseling for producers and clientele on specific animal production problems.
Animal Production Systems
AES Research. AES focuses on basic and applied research in animal breeding, nutrition, physiology, health, behavior, and integrated resource management systems.
One primary goal is to continue development and enhancement of a flexible, user-friendly decision support system that can be utilized by commercial and seedstock producers of beef cattle to improve profitability through improved selection of breeding animals and better design of mating systems. Breed associations who have agreed to contribute genetic information on potential sires represent over 170,000 registrations per year. Assuming half of these registrations are male calves and half of those are sold as breeding animals, the system has the potential to have a large influence on profitability of beef production with 40,000 bulls being used in breeding programs. Even when considering only changes in growth genetics, at $250 net per bull (under average historical pricing systems) this would translate into over $10 million annually in improved profitability. Considering that reproductive traits impact cow/calf profitability at much greater levels, the overall value of adoption would be considerably larger. The current model only considers animal production and sale of excess offspring through weaning, but as later segments of the industry are included, the overall effect to the industry is expect to further increase.The Western Center for Integrated Resource Management graduate program has worked to make the IRM Graduate program available completely online. We offered five courses online during Fall 2011. Our enrollment in these two courses, which include our hallmark introductory course (AGRI 630) and one of our business training courses (AGRI 631), attracted thirteen and twenty-two students, respectively. This enrollment has been accomplished without marketing or promotion, mainly by student inquiry. Many students affirm that they find our program through online searches using terms like Master of Sustainable Agriculture and through word of mouth from previous students. Our Online Learning Program, along with our campus program, will continue to push us towards excellence by maintaining courses that are challenging and will equip students to obtain positions and stand out in their particular agricultural field.
Plant Production Systems
Integrated Program Goal: Adoption of improved crops through breeding, production systems and technologies and productive and sustainable agriculture systems will assure communities, families, and individuals have enough food to eat, and that hunger is not a factor in their well-being.
Molecular biology and genomics will open new pathways for crop plant improvement and pest management that support economic development, enhance human health through more nutritious and safer food products, and find fundamental solutions through renewable and sustainable crop production and pest management. Research in plant production systems will inform Extension activities and programs as CSU contributes to solving the dilemmas inherent in the Global Food Security & Hunger NIFA priority.
Ongoing, Consistent, and/or Successful Programs: Extension outreach spans the breadth of the topics of research to assure that industry participants have practical knowledge in modern plant, production systems, biosecurity, economic and risk management, and response to policy and consumer changes. Crop production in the state benefits from AES and Extension through improved crops which resist environmental and biological pests. Producers realize increased prices and lower cost of production. Consumers benefit from higher human nutritional values of food.
Cross-cutting or Cross-disciplinary Initiatives: Global Food Security and Hunger work, of necessity, includes animal and plant production systems and integrates Extension education in disseminating research results.
- Delivers workshops and educational classes for producers;
- Communicates results through demonstration plots and field days;
- Provides individual counseling for producers and clientele on specific plant production problems.
Cross-cutting or Cross-disciplinary Initiatives: As recommended by NIFA reviewers, CSU Extension’s Work Teams for animal production and plant production systems maintain regular communication and may consider combining under the goal of global food security.
‘Wheat Improvement’ is a well-organized and highly-functioning Extension work team that maintains its structure and contributes to the NIFA priority goal of global food security.
2011 AES Accomplishments:
The second edition of the Intermountain Grass and Legume Production Manual was published. Numerous hard copies have been distributed to producers, Extension agents, NRCS field personnel, scientists, and agriculture consultants within Colorado as well as several western states.
In fall 2011, six wheat experimental lines were released as new cultivars. Three of these lines have been named as new cultivars – Byrd, Denali, Brawl CL Plus – and will be marketed primarily by the Colorado Wheat Research Foundation, either alone or in collaboration with other parties. In Colorado trials, Byrd has shown very high grain yield, approximately 10% higher than the current leading variety Hatcher, and also shows good test weight and stripe rust resistance, and exceptional milling and bread baking quality. Brawl CL Plus carries a second gene for tolerance to imazamox herbicide and has shown grain yield comparable to other imazamox-tolerant varieties (Clearfield*), high test weight, good stripe rust resistance, and excellent milling and bread baking quality.
Since inception of the program, average wheat grain yields in Colorado have more than doubled with at least 50% of this increase attributed to improved cultivars. While the value of these yield increases varies according to production and market prices, estimates of economic returns in Colorado from CSU-developed wheat varieties were approximately $43 million for the 2011 crop alone. These estimates include yield increases resulting from improved CSU varieties ($29 million), marketing benefits resulting from CSU varieties with enhanced end-use quality ($9 million), and yield-protection resulting from adoption of CSU varieties carrying herbicide tolerance traits for winter annual grassy weed control ($5 million).
Chile peppers are an important specialty crop in the Arkansas Valley of Colorado. Plasticulture techniques employing drip irrigation and plastic mulch can dramatically improve fresh market yield of chile peppers. Gross returns from chile peppers grown for the fresh market have the potential to reach $10,000 per acre. These studies suggest that growing hybrid chile pepper varieties with black plastic mulch and drip irrigation increases fresh market yield and reduces the consumptive use of irrigation water.
The largest potato producer in Colorado and much of the Southwest has indicated that by following our management plan, his problems with powdery scab have diminished to the point that he no longer considers this a major disease threat to his production. For the past three years his farming operation has screened in excess of 50 fields for the presence of soil borne inoculum. He has utilized this information in his planting schemes when production of susceptible cultivars is necessary. In addition, he has used the soil screening program to assess his other field production practices such as the growth of certain green manure crops on the level of inoculum found in the field. The release and growth of several newer cultivars which are resistant or moderately resistant to the disease has resulted in the successful production of susceptible cultivars with few grade related problems due to powdery scab. This has generated an additional estimated 480,000 cwt of clean, marketable potatoes with a fair market value in excess of $7.2 million, due to the nature of the high prices received for specialty type potatoes.
Natural Resources and the Environment
Program Goals: Programs sustain and/or improve the quality and quantity of Colorado’s natural resources and environment.
New Programs, and/or Addressing NIFA Priorities: The US Census of Agriculture reports decreasing numbers of mid- and large-sized farms and a significant increase in the number of small farms. Small acreage owners/operators frequently may not possess much agricultural or business knowledge. Extension addresses the needs of small acreage producers and work with agricultural industry personnel and governmental agencies to assure that land managers and communities can evaluate a broad range of opportunities to enhance viability while respecting the environment. The AES conducts research on water, natural resources, and other management systems that impact large scale landscapes, production agriculture, and the interface of urban and rural interfaces for scarce resources.
Ongoing, Consistent, and/or Successful Programs: AES and Extension programs address the growing competition for finite water, land, and air resources in a state with a growing human population by:
- educating agricultural and resource industry professionals;
- researching technical and economic issues related to improved resource utilization; and
- enhancing international competitiveness
- Conducting basic and applied research
Cross-cutting or Cross-disciplinary Initiatives: Nutrient management and odor and dust control.
Integrated Program Accomplishments:
Yellow toadflax is a creeping perennial weed that is noxious in Colorado and very problematic in the Intermountain West. It is very difficult to control; and in our experiments to date, acceptable control was not achieved 1 or 2 years after treatments (YAT) were applied and site to site variation has been extreme. The site to site variation was eliminated with higher rates of either herbicide and while imazapyr is not a standard recommendation because of limited selectivity, chlorsulfuron is a common recommendation and the site variation vanished at the highest rate. ALS enzyme bioassays indicated that the variable response to chlorsulfuron and imazapyr is not due to inherited herbicide resistance. The spatial variation associated with using herbicides to control yellow toadflax that we have observed in many experiments over the years appears to be environmentally related rather than associated with inherited resistance. Growth stage when yellow toadflax seems to be most susceptible to herbicide application will be easily identified as the post bloom stage. Land managers can apply herbicide during this time likely will achieve a greater and longer lasting decrease in yellow toadflax population abundance. This allows greater time to reclaim an infested site with desirable plant species without intense competition from the recovering weed species. Adoption of our results by public land managers not only increase success in decreasing toadflax abundance and decreased injury to desirable shrubs and forbs will be evident by using less herbicide.
Eurasian watermilfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum) is an invasive aquatic macrophyte that infests lakes and some irrigation canals in Colorado. This invasive species can drastically impact recreation and ecosystem services normally provided by aquatic environments. Recently, a new herbicide, imazamox, was registered for aquatic uses, and its behavior in Eurasian watermilfoil was evaluated. The results of this research provide these managers with critical information necessary to make appropriate decisions about using this new herbicide. Imazamox has attributes that make it a reasonable choice for managing this species. Applicators now have very detailed information about its behavior in the plant and the importance of managing water movement during treatment.
Since the infection rate of Dutch Elm Disease has not changed dramatically in Fort Collins or elsewhere in Colorado, even though the vector population has been predominately S. schevyrewi for a decade, it appears that S. schevyrewi is a new vector of the DED pathogen but is not any more efficient than S. multistriatus. Thus, the current aggressive management programs that remove declining elms as elm bark beetle breeding sites, rapid removal of DED infected elms prior to beetle emergence and the planting of DED-resistant elms should continue to be effective management tactics.
Community Resource Development (CRD)
Extension Program Goals: CRD Programs provide tools so that citizens can make informed decisions to increase tax revenues, maintain and/or increase employment, and maintain and/or grow valued community resources.
New Programs, and/or Addressing NIFA Priorities: Community Resource Development (CRD), and its partner, Economic Development, are highlighted by the Vice President for Engagement and Director of Extension.
Ongoing, Consistent, and/or Successful Programs: Colorado communities are changing rapidly as a result of many factors, including loss of agricultural water, influx of retirement populations, development of gas and oil industries, incidence of military deployment, and changes in cultural background of residents. Communities struggle to develop and maintain resources: human, financial, physical, social, environmental, and political. They also are challenged to provide the organizational capacity to assess, plan, and implement activities to address resource development and management. These issues especially are acute in smaller rural communities. Colorado’s rural communities are relatively unique in terms of sparse populations, a high natural amenity and public lands base, a transitory population, and relatively low public service provision. Communities require knowledge to evaluate their resource base, their economic and social service alternatives, and their futures.
Cross-cutting or Cross-disciplinary Initiatives: CRD technologies will be provided through training and technical assistance to Extension agents, as the system views CRD as a process rather than an issue. The goal is to intentionally integrate CRD into all issues work.
Clean Energy Strategic Initiative
Extension Program Goals: Diffuse and adopt renewable energy sources and sustainable practices that reduce dependence on nonrenewable energy through public knowledge of energy efficiency and clean energy options.
New Programs, and/or Addressing NIFA Priorities: Clean energy interests and efforts were organized as an Extension ‘strategic initiative team’ in fall, 2008. Progress by the team is reflected in showing the work as a planned program, and including it in the Program Leadership Team as a Program Area. While not all clean energy is sustainable, it is an area of high interest to county partners, as documented by a search of county priorities on Web sites throughout the state. The Work Team’s objective is to educate a core group of Extension agents about renewable energy options and energy efficiency, and to broadly educate all Extension agents on the basics of renewable energy. Deliverables include:
- demonstration sites;
- short term classes;
- partnerships with campus faculty;
- green jobs programs for schools;
- school enrichment materials using STEM-based standards.
Ongoing, Consistent, and/or Successful Programs: The long range intention is that Extension will be considered the educational entity of choice in the area of clean energy. These activities and intentions are recognized as outputs, as the planned program is very new and not fully resourced. The Work Team will create its Logic Model and articulate outcomes for the immediate, short, and long term.
Cross-cutting or Cross-disciplinary Initiatives: Our Clean Energy Specialist can more effectively connect Extension’s clean energy efforts with multiple research and teaching opportunities that are ongoing in several colleges on campus.
Extension Program Goals: No Work Team has been established to address issues of childhood obesity in Colorado.
New Programs, and/or Addressing NIFA Priorities: conscious focus on nutrition and physical activity in some 4-H Youth Development programs.
Ongoing, Consistent, and/or Successful Programs: n/a
Cross-cutting or Cross-disciplinary Initiatives: n/a
Nutrition and Health
Extension Program Goals: Reduced incidence of chronic diseases (such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity and cancer), thus reducing health insurance premiums and mortality rates, and increasing employee productivity.
New Programs, and/or Addressing NIFA Priorities: The Nutrition and Health Work Team provides research-based nutrition and health education to a variety of audiences across Colorado in an effort to promote healthful nutrition, activity and lifestyle behaviors.
Ongoing, Consistent, and/or Successful Programs: These work teams members participated in the FCS focusing activity in June, 2009, and have specific outcome targets and indicators by which they collect their statewide data. Indicators for Nutrition and Health include:
- Consumption of fruits and vegetables;
- Consumption of calcium-rich foods;
- Physical activity.
AES Program Goals: The AES research program in human nutrition, health and food safety focuses on basic and applied research to understand:
- the interrelationships between nutrition, exercise, and human health, and
- the basic biochemistry of human nutrition, and
- food safety research emphasizing pre-harvest, handling and post-harvest detection of pathogens in crops and livestock to prevent contamination of meat and crop products and the transmission of pathogens to humans.
AES scientists collaborated with regulatory agencies to address the listeria outbreak from one cantaloupe producer/processor’s operations that has had major impacts across the U.S. AES scientists and Extension are developing safe practices in cooperation with other growers as well as developing information to help restore the confidence in the “Rocky Ford Cantaloupe”.