Combined Research and Extension Annual Report – 2012

2012 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 local needs and research information from the AES, the colleges of Agricultural Sciences, Applied Human Sciences (Health and Human Sciences as of July 1, 2013), Engineering, Veterinary Medicine and Natural Resources. Programs emphasize best management practices in addressing issues that affect Coloradans.

Most Extension data for this report were provided through our Colorado Planning and Reporting System (CPRS). Plans of Work (POW) were submitted by Work Teams (WTs), and individuals linked to them in creating their own Plans to Invest (PTI). During the program year, individuals entered program data, and reports were generated during the first quarter of 2013. 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 2012 as no percentages are available.

An unintended consequence of the adoption of CPRS is differences in scope and reporting of program areas by the AES and Extension. These differences were addressed in the updated Plan of Work and this 2012 Integrated Report.

The following accomplishments are reflective of the programmatic goals and objectives stated in the Plan of Work.

4-H Youth Development – Accomplishments

Larimer County Extension successfully responded to the impacts of the High Park Fire that occurred in Larimer County in June and July, 2012. 4-H Coordinator Diane Kern worked with 4-H club members and The Ranch staff to coordinate work schedules of the many 4-H volunteers who were feeding animals and cleaning stalls. She also recruited dozens of 4-H families who took in animals after they left The Ranch.

Family Economic Stability – Accomplishments

Project efforts are being communicated to appropriate professionals in state and nationally. Presentations were made at the Eastern Family Economics Resource Management Association conference in Charlotte, NC in February, 2012; the Colorado Culture of Health Conference in Denver in April, 2012; the National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences conference in Columbus, OH in September, 2012; and the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education conference in St. Louis, MO in November, 2012.

Food Safety – Accomplishments

Statement by a county advisory board member: “Thank you for the opportunity to participate in the Food Safety Works training last week. Margery and I (both former home economics teachers) were very impressed with your safe food handler program. Your presentation and pace along with the slides were clear and informative. The hands on activities proved we learn – and remember – by doing! It was great to see the reactions of all the participants washing hands to see “germs” under blue light and calibrating food thermometers. The Food Safety Works: Educational Manual for the Food Service Worker is an excellent reference handbook for “take home” – and to be shared with others at work. The use of resources to accommodate the Spanish speaking food service workers was an amazing service in partnership with the Poudre River Library District. It was easy to see the group hearing Irene Romsa’s interpreting felt comfortable using/learning with headsets. The updates on a few of the proposed changes to Colorado’s food service regulation for 2013 kept everyone interested. It was also valuable to have KT Gallagher, food inspector, as part of this training for her time and “up-front” responses to participant questions. Please keep me on your mailing list for the Food Safety Works quarterly newsletter. It’s great to see a resource that is very valuable for all our local food service institutions. Again, appreciation goes to you and your team with CSU Larimer Co Extension, Department of Health and Environment, and Poudre River Library District. With the various important Extension Food Safety Education Programs for multiple populations in our community, let’s continue to take action spreading the word about food safety – it’s everyone’s benefit!”

Global Food Security and Hunger – Accomplishments

The beef cattle selection decision support system is intended for use by beef cattle producers to integrate economic and production characteristics of their operation with the selection of breeding animals in an effort to improve profitability through genetic improvement. Based on feedback from cattle breeders using the system we have been adding new features to streamline its use. That effort continues with the reprogramming and migration of the system to a new platform for delivery. In the current year, besides the continuation of the system migration/reprogramming, we have compiled average performance information from an intermountain-region seedstock Angus herd. This performance information will serve as a validation dataset for the bio-economic simulation.

With appropriate application this system could improve overall profitability of beef production. For instance, bulls are typically used for 3 breeding seasons with an average of 25 offspring produced per season; each of these bulls would produce a total of 75 offspring. If the system yields only an average of $10 more profit per progeny produced and sold at weaning, this is $750 per bull put in service. Given that cow-calf producers would likely keep replacements from progeny produced, economic benefits would exceed those estimates. Additionally, such a system would help producers select replacements specifically for the production and economic circumstances on their operation, potentially yielding increased results on an individual rather than a breed-wide basis.

Plant Production Systems – Accomplishments

Powdery scab and early blight have been significant issues for the potato industry in Colorado and the Western U.S. Any one of these disease problems can reduce yield and quality and can have a major influence on a producer’s yield, quality and ultimately, the marketing of the potato product. Growers need a better understanding of various potato diseases under Colorado conditions and to implement disease suppression control strategies through a best management practices approach.

Impacts from this research have been varied and consistently benefited potato producers in Colorado. One impact has been reduction and management of early blight. Controlling early blight utlizing the rotation of chemistries used in this research project coupled with the proper timing of the applications results in a savings to the average producer based on their former practices of over 50%/ha or about $61.75/ha. Producers for at least 5,000 ha of potatoes have indicated that they are using these early blight treatments for an annual savings of $309,000.

Development of improved wheat cultivars serves the wheat industry in Colorado and the western Great Plains by reducing wheat production costs, reducing pesticide use, and providing improved marketing options. In fall 2012, experimental line CO07W245 was released as ‘Antero’. Antero is a hard white winter wheat (HWW) from the cross KS01HW152-1/TAM 111 made in 2003. Antero is medium height and medium maturing, and has a medium-length coleoptile, good straw strength, and excellent test weight. Pre-harvest sprouting tolerance of Antero is similar to Snowmass, which is similar to Hatcher hard red winter wheat (HRW). Antero is resistant to stripe rust, moderately resistant to stem rust and wheat soilborne/wheat spindle streak mosaic virus, moderately susceptible to barley yellow dwarf and wheat streak mosaic viruses, and susceptible to leaf rust and all biotypes of Russian wheat aphid. Antero was the second highest yielding entry in the trials, similar to Byrd HRW.

Since inception of the program, 36 CSU-bred wheat cultivars account for 61.3% (or 77.4% of the accounted-for acreage) of Colorado’s 2.4 million acres (2012 crop). Average wheat grain yields in Colorado have more than doubled with at least 50% of this increase attributed to improved cultivars. 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).

Collaborative On Farm Trials (COFT), supported by the Colorado Wheat Research Foundation since its inception, is unique to Colorado. No other state engages farmers in wheat development through large-scale, uniform on-farm variety testing.

Wheat farmers’ adoption of just three of the newer CSU wheat varieties created a significant economic impact worth over $18,000,000 in 2011 according to CSU Economist Jay Parsons.

The COFT wheat program translates to increased income in 2011 for dryland farmers in Eastern Colorado. The impact by County is estimated as follows (based on Colorado Ag Statistics data):

  • Adams – $1,217,700
  • Arapaho – $424,800
  • Cheyenne – $1,489,500
  • Kiowa – $1,395,000
  • Kit Carson – $1,774,800
  • Lincoln – $904,500
  • Logan – $1,010,700
  • Morgan – $459,000
  • Phillips – $795,600
  • Prowers – $1,082,700
  • Sedgwick – $546,300
  • Washington – $2,362,500
  • Weld – $1,098,000
  • Yuma – $1,099,800

The major objectives of the Colorado Potato Breeding and Selection Program are to address the needs of Colorado growers to have new potato cultivars (russets, reds, chippers, and specialties) with increased yield, improved quality, improved nutritional characteristics, resistance to diseases and pests, and tolerance to environmental stresses. by assessing production, adaptability, marketability, and other characteristics of advanced selections.

Twelve advanced selections were evaluated in the Southwest Regional Trials, Western Regional Trials, or by Colorado producers in 2012. Several selections are being considered for exclusive release. Selections to be named are AC99329-7PW/Y (Masquerade), CO99053-3RU (Crestone Russet), CO99100-1RU (name to be determined). CSU releases accounted for 58% of the 55,100 acres planted to fall potatoes in Colorado in 2012. Colorado cultivars and clonal selections accounted for 46% of the 13,286 acres of Colorado certified seed accepted for certification in 2012.

Consumers prefer tastier evidence-based health food products whereas potato producer’s primary preference is the ability to sell the crop – thus, it is critical to develop farm to fork operations that optimizes the health-benefits without losing the sensory attributes.

Color-fleshed potatoes are a rich source of anthocyanins, which may contribute to the protection of high-fat diet induced inflammation and obesity. However, color-fleshed potatoes can undergo 3-6 months of storage before processing/consumption. Purple-fleshed potatoes had greater phenolic content (TP) and antioxidant activity (AA) as compared to traditional white- and yellow-fleshed genotypes. The AA of all clones increased with storage; however, an increase in TP was observed only in purple-fleshed clones. Baking caused minimal losses while chipping reduced the phenolic and anthocyanin content, and AA of the potatoes. With storage, total phenolic and anthocyanin content, and AA increased in baked samples while in the chipped samples, they remained constant. Storage and processing (chipping vs. uncooked) caused a shift in the metabolite profiles of potato clones. However, baking retained similar metabolite profile as that of uncooked potato.

Purple-fleshed (Purple Majesty and CO97227-2P/PW) varieties/advanced selection were identified as rich sources of bioactive compounds and anti-oxidant capacity compared to all other varieties tested. CO97227-2P/PW retained the anti-oxidant capacity and anti- colon cancer properties (obesity and/or type 2 diabetes promotes colon cancer). Baking not only retains metabolite profile similar to that of uncooked but also retains biological activity against human colon cancer cell lines.

Natural Resources and the Environment – Accomplishments

Information and models are needed by growers for water limited agroecosystems and sustainable management of both dryland and limited-irrigation cropping systems in eastern Colorado. Field research and models are used to develop cropping systems that improve crop water productivity. The limited irrigation research has been used to identify profitable cropping systems with reduced consumptive water use of 20-50%.

Intensive dryland cropping systems build soil organic carbon, improve soil quality, and improve both air and surface water quality because they provide high amounts of year around cover. These benefits have been realized for about 1,500,000 acres in CO that have been converted from wheat-fallow to wheat-summer crop-fallow. This conversion increased net return by $22,275,000 per year under normal precipitation conditions. Limited irrigation cropping systems based on conservation tillage practices demonstrated in this project build soil organic carbon, improve soil quality, and improve both air and surface water quality because they provide high amounts of year around cover. These benefits have the potential to affect as much as 2,000,000 acres in CO.

Growers need an irrigation water management tool that utilizes localized crop ET estimates, weather, and soil information for efficient use of irrigation water. In the Arkansas Valley, such information is necessary for resolving the Colorado/Kansas water dispute. An irrigation-scheduling spreadsheet (Excel) tool has been developed. Two versions of the tool are available: one for annual crops and another for hay crops (e.g., alfalfa hay). Daily crop consumptive water use is estimated from reference crop evapotranspiration (ET) calculated by CoAgMet and adjusted with a daily crop coefficient for the specific crop. The hay crop version incorporates alfalfa hay crop coefficients developed from the lysimeter studies at Rocky Ford, CO. Hourly and daily consumptive water use of alfalfa hay was collected using two weighing lysimeters at Rocky Ford, CO during the 2012 growing season.

Information on the consumptive water use of alfalfa hay in the Arkansas River Valley of southeast Colorado was presented to approximately 120 water professionals (water managers, irrigators, water lawyers) in Colorado. Also, a newly-developed irrigation scheduling spreadsheet tool gives users that have Internet access the capability of tracking the daily soil water balance of individual irrigated fields calculated from evapotranspiration and rainfall data from the Colorado Agricultural Meteorological Network (CoAgMet) and field-specific soils information from USDA-NRCS Web Soil Survey. The irrigation scheduling tool was delivered to Colorado NRCS for use at their field offices in Colorado.

According to the American Farmland Trust, population growth in Colorado is transforming traditional agricultural landscapes into low-density residential development.

(Strategic Ranchland in 20th Rocky Mountain West.pdf).

Small acreage landowners have a significant impact on the conditions of soil, water, plants, animals, and other natural and man-made resources through their cumulative effects. The large tracts of agricultural lands in Colorado are being subdivided into one to 100 acre tracts of dry land for rural homesteads. Many of these homesteaders move from cities or other states and do not have the land management knowledge base which traditional agricultural landowners hold. Therefore, the demand for information and technical assistance is immense. Weed control, water use, and grazing management are prime examples of the land management skills which many small acreage landowners seek. CSU Extension, along with partners such as the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service, Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife, and local Conservation Districts will lead this educational effort.

Clean Energy – Accomplishments

Continued involvement with local individuals and groups such as the Rifle Energy Village group, promoting non-traditional energy sources, uses, and associated businesses. City of Rifle is very well known for its promotion of new energy projects as well as the on-going use of natural gas, etc. Providing information on traditional and non-traditional energy and viability in Western Colorado locales

Health Promotion and Disease Prevention – Accomplishments

In 2012, the Larimer County Farmers’ Market submitted a grant to the Colorado Farmers’ Market Association to offer matching SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program–formerly food stamps) coupons to qualifying customers. We received a $400 grant and used $400 of our funds to match it (for a total of $800). We also received a $1000 grant from Kaiser-Permanente to support these efforts. All together, we had $1800 to distribute to SNAP customers from mid-August through the end of October. This program met the needs of helping an underserved audience have access to fresh fruits and vegetables from local producers.

We set the parameters of the grant that we would match up to $10 in additional SNAP coupons for each customer, once per week. A total of 119 SNAP transactions occurred during the 12 week program. We had 26 people use the program once, and 2 people used the program every week. We had an average of 10 customers per week use their Colorado Quest card to receive SNAP coupons.

A total of $2,447 SNAP coupons was purchased, with $1,176 in matching SNAP funds distributed. We have $624 remaining that we can use for the program in 2013. In addition to word of mouth advertising and several press releases that were sent to local newspapers, we worked with Lily Martinez, SNAP-Ed Educator in the Larimer County office to inform her clients of this program.

We were very proud of the success this program had and are excited to seek new forms of funding in 2013 to increase the program. Instead of $10, we could consider $20 or matching dollar-for-dollar. The community and vendor support were also very encouraging.

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