Selected Research Impacts
These are just a few recent highlights of the impact of AgriLife Research on Texas and its people:
Sustain Healthy Ecosystems and Conserve Natural Resources
- Through application of irrigation-efficiency measures developed by Texas AgriLife Research, farmers in the Edwards Aquifer region have saved .5 million acre-feet of water, valued at $3.4 million.
- Researchers have developed cost-effective management options to circumvent golden algae blooms in Texas lakes. In the past, the overgrowth of this algae species has resulted in fish kills and recreational losses ranging between $10 and $20 million.
- By developing effective application schedules to control harmful insects while reducing the use of pesticides, AgriLife Research has helped vegetable growers save millions of dollars – and protect the environment.
- AgriLife researchers have developed chemical treatments that reduce ammonia emissions from feedyards by 80 percent.
Enhance Competitiveness and Prosperity of Urban and Rural Agricultural Industries
- AgriLife Research has contributed to the expansion of the horticultural industries in East Texas, with an estimated economic impact in excess of $1.2 billion. Our programs have helped growers to double watermelon production over 10 years, increase nursery and greenhouse production, create a blueberry industry, increase and improve ornamental plant production, and have greater success with home landscapes and gardens.
- Researchers are developing protocols for incorporating distillers grains into feedlot finishing diets at higher-than-expected levels. Feeding distillers grains could decrease feedlot grain costs by $15 per head. Based on current market conditions, this translates into nearly $1 million in savings for a 35,000-head feedlot.
- AgriLife Research scientists have discovered the only known way to make citrus trees resistant to greening disease and citrus canker, both of which have devastated the $9 billion Florida citrus industry and now pose a threat to the Texas citrus industry.
- Developed by AgriLife Research, new wheat varieties – TAM 111 and TAM 112 – have increased annual farm gate income by more than $6 million.
- Demonstrated that the addition of limestone to soils increases soil fertility and forage production, resulting in annual cost savings of $1 million for East Texas farmers and ranchers.
- Developing a method to interrupt the vine-to-vine spread of Pierce’s disease by controlling insect vectors has reduced the disease spread in established and newly planted vineyards throughout Texas.
- Using a novel method for applying antibiotics, our scientists have developed a strategy for reducing the incidence of the most common and severe form of foal pneumonia by 75 percent. Bacterial pneumonia is a leading cause of disease and death in foals, affecting approximately 1 in 10 foals.
Improve Public Health and Well-Being
- Our researchers have discovered a compound from sheep being used in clinical trials for multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and hepatitis.
- Researchers have documented that dietary omega-3 fatty acids, such as those found in fish oil, regulate transmission of information that alters the body’s responses at the cellular level. This finding has enhanced the ability to determine colon cancer risks.
- Researchers have discovered a gene associated with resistance to tuberculosis among people infected with HIV. This discovery will lead to a new understanding of how the tuberculosis bacterium causes disease and will create new avenues for controlling tuberculosis among those with HIV. It will also lead to new methods for screening people at high risk of developing tuberculosis.
- To improve the safety of our food supply, AgriLife Research developed materials for Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) training for more than 1,700 food industry personnel in 26 states and 8 countries. We also provided food safety educational programs for more than 800 USDA inspectors.