Texas farmers and ranchers plant nearly 8 million acres of small grains annually, which include wheat (>6 million acres), oats (>600 thousand acres), and barley, rye, and triticale. Texas is the third largest wheat producing state in the nation, harvesting 3.4 million acres annually. In addition Texas A&M AgriLife Researchers are fueling the future. Bioenergy research is a key ongoing research program to provide new alternative fuel solutions. Whether protecting commodity crops or developing drought-resistant landscaping plants, AgriLife Research provides solutions for natural resources and water conservation, disease-free crops and plants and systems for crop production.
Texas A&M AgriLife Research topics within crops and plants include:
AgriLife Research bioenergy research spans the full range of discovery – from developing high-tonnage biomass plants at the molecular level to developing more efficient processes to manufacture biofuels. The Bioenergy Program has made AgriLife Research a national leader in bioenergy and bioproducts research, development, and commercialization, due to its innovative science-based programs, expertise, infrastructure, and partnerships.
In addition to strategies for feeding the world, small grain pasture plays a key to the Texas beef cattle industry with excellent forage potential and high quality.
Cropping Systems and Management
Cropping Systems research centers on the measurement and modeling of factors that affect crop production and management with an emphasis on agricultural sustainability and conservation of agroecosystem resources.
Forages include both native (157 million acres) and introduced (111 million acres) pastures in Texas that provide about 70 percent of the nutrients consumed by livestock. Forages also enhance water quality, serve as sinks for the disposal of agricultural and municipal wastes, are renewable sources of energy, provide food and habitat for wildlife, and are used to revegetate disturbed lands and public right-of-ways.
Though turfgrass is not food, fiber, or animal feed, it affects millions of lives in various ways, including physical and mental health and social wellbeing. Turfgrasses limit soil erosion, conserve water, filter air and water-borne pollutants, reduce heat buildup in urban areas, and provide safer playing surfaces.
Greenhouse and nursery production of ornamental plants is one of the largest segments of Texas agriculture with annual sales exceeding one billion dollars. Ornamental plants are important for increasing the quality of life and also for improving the environment.
Insects and Pest Management
The cornerstone of insect pest management, whereby pest populations are managed through a combination of chemical, biological and cultural control strategies.