Hemp studies yield improved crop in Yellow Jacket

News

Hemp studies yield improved crop in Yellow Jacket

Local farmers and ranchers learn about water absorption in soils during the Southwest Colorado Research Station’s annual tour on Aug. 18.
Sunflowers are in full bloom at the Southwest Colorado Research Station in Yellow Jacket.
Abdel Berrada discusses the hemp test plot at the Southwest Colorado Research Station.
A bee gathers pollen from a hemp plant at the CSU Southwest Colorado Research Station in Yellow Jacket .
MillerCoors taps local farmer for barley crop

In 2013, MillerCoors visited Montezuma County to persuade local farmers to grow malt barley for their beer.
After test plots at the Southwestern Colorado Research Center in Yellow Jacket yielded good results, one Montezuma County farmer took the bait this year and signed a contract to grow 50 acres of malt barley for MillerCoors.
“If it works well, the hope is that other farmers will follow,” said research center manager Abdel Berrada.
The company’s narrow standards for protein levels and other strict specifications initially scared off farmers. If the crop just misses thresholds, it is rejected, and the farmer can only sell it for livestock feed at a greatly reduced price.
But the past three years, the malt barley from the research center’s irrigated test plots met the company’s qualifications, raising confidence it can be done. Dryland plots did not meet company specifications.
“It’s proven that under irrigated conditions it yields well and produces the criteria they are looking for,” said Dolores County ag extension agent Gus Westerman.
Farmers who grow for MillerCoors are required to use company seeds, and take their harvest to Monte Vista for testing and sale.
“If enough people grow it here, (MillerCoors) could consider storing it locally and providing the seeds here,” Berrada said.
Malt barley is a good rotation crop for wheat and alfalfa, he said, and can be harvested with traditional farming equipment.
“I’m pleasantly surprised how well our barley grew here, it likes the early cool temperatures,” said Judy Jolly, an agronomist with MillerCoors during the 2013 visit. “We’re looking to expand our growing operations and this area is a good market for us and for you also.”

Hemp studies yield improved crop in Yellow Jacket

Local farmers and ranchers learn about water absorption in soils during the Southwest Colorado Research Station’s annual tour on Aug. 18.
Sunflowers are in full bloom at the Southwest Colorado Research Station in Yellow Jacket.
Abdel Berrada discusses the hemp test plot at the Southwest Colorado Research Station.
A bee gathers pollen from a hemp plant at the CSU Southwest Colorado Research Station in Yellow Jacket .
click here to add your event
Area Events