Summer signals CSU agricultural research

While many departments are looking forward to taking their summer vacation, a number of CSU’s agricultural and animal divisions will do more work in the summertime.

Junior wildlife biology major Brent Pease, left, Agriculture graduate student Amy Kousch, center, and sophmore soil and crop science major Colton Heeney plant cabbage in the student sustainable farm yesterday afternoon. The student run farm grows a variety of fruits, vegtables and other plants and has done so for the last 16 growing seasons.
Junior wildlife biology major Brent Pease, left, Agriculture graduate student Amy Kousch, center, and sophmore soil and crop science major Colton Heeney plant cabbage in the student sustainable farm yesterday afternoon. The student run farm grows a variety of fruits, vegtables and other plants and has done so for the last 16 growing seasons.

CSU’s Agricultural Research, Development and Education Center is a compound a few miles north of Fort Collins, where all kinds of research occurs under the supervision of workers at the facility and professors.

ARDEC is part of seven separate but similar research compounds around Colorado. It’s mostly professors’ hypotheses that are tested and further studied at the location near Fort Collins.

“It’s the professors who do the developing and everything,” said Chris Fryrear, plant science coordinator at ARDEC.

Research this summer will span across various fields of agricultural research. One project will be studying bugs that live on corn, wheat and other plants in an effort to better deal with them. Another study will look at bean genetics, while a different project tests the order in which crops best rotate. But the projects are just three examples of almost 20 different projects planned or ongoing at ARDEC, primarily this summer.

“In the summer, it gets really busy, and in the winters not busy at all,” Fryrear said.

Some projects at ARDEC reach out to local farmers for help in projects, such as one currently taking place that tests the effects of different levels of field tilling.

All the farmland used at ARDEC is irrigated through either well or ditch water, and the facility manages to be self-sufficient in a variety of ways.

“We also supply animal science with most all of their silage, corn silage, and corn grain, and hay,” Fryrear said. “So we not only have out plots for our professors, but we also supply the animal science side with what they need.”

ARDEC not only focuses on growing and experimenting with crops, but also has a focus on animal husbandry. While only three students work for ARDEC’s plant science department, about a dozen work directly for the compound’s animal science side.

Senior natural resource management major Andrea Vanderbilty plants brussel sprouts at the student sustainable farm Monday. The student run farm has volunteer hours every Monday and Wednesday from 2-4pm, welcoming anyone to help in various ways throughout the garden.
Senior natural resource management major Andrea Vanderbilty plants brussel sprouts at the student sustainable farm Monday. The student run farm has volunteer hours every Monday and Wednesday from 2-4pm, welcoming anyone to help in various ways throughout the garden.

Not all who do research at ARDEC work there directly.

“There’s a number of students who work out here, but don’t work directly for us, they work for different projects,” Fryrear said.

There are also opportunities to work in plant or animal science on campus, but for different programs than ARDEC.

“One student that works in the arboretum, one in the perennial garden, and then I have one in the plant select garden, and then I have about four working in the annual garden, and then I have graduate students doing work over there too at the plant environmental research center,” said James Klett CSU professor and head of the annual flower garden.

Things like the annual flower trial garden also research plants, but often in a more colorful way, but ARDEC focuses more on large scale, agricultural research. Things like beet breeding are more important at ARDEC than pretty flowers.

Collegian Writer Matt Gabriel can be reached at news@collegian.com.