Western Colorado Research Center
Like much of Colorado, the WCRC is unique in its climate, elevation, and crop portfolio. We are interested in diversifying our crop growing potential to meet the needs of our growing population and changing climate. Our research covers work on irrigation and harvest techniques, soil development and preservation, and optimizing crop plant productivity for high-elevation regions.
Research and Engagement
We work with local growers and extension programs to stay informed on the most pressing needs in our region. Without a doubt water and soil conservation are at the forefront of our work as we develop new crop varieties, including tree fruits and specialty berry and grass varieties. Alongside research scientists, our students become part of our research team, engaging with our industry partners, and local growers. We feel it’s the best way to learn the vital skills to build a stronger agricultural future for our region.
WCRC Research Stations
Orchard Mesa Research Station
We are located seven miles southeast of Grand Junction at an elevation of 4750 feet. Our average growing season has 150-182 frost-free days. Our research includes studies on tree fruits, wine grape production, and ornamental horticulture. We also utilize our climate-controlled greenhouse, offices and lab facilities to round out our work.
Grand Valley Research Station
We are in Mesa County’s Grand Valley with an average rainfall of 8-12 inches. Our growing season averages up to 175 frost-free days. Our research addresses the challenges associated with our arid climate and conserving agricultural water resources. The Fruita research station conducts the bulk of the agronomic research for the WCRC, sharing our findings and knowledge on integrated cropping systems, alternative crops, and forages with our regional industry and university partners.
Organic Agriculture Research Station at Rogers Mesa
The Organic Agriculture Research Station at Rogers Mesa re-opened in 2017 and is located three miles west of Hotchkiss, CO and sits at an elevation of 5800 feet. OARS-RM has a 125-day frost-free growing season and sits on nearly 80 acres and utilize 65 acres for certified organic cultivation. Our work emphasizes organic agriculture for tree fruits, table and wine grapes, organic seed production and greenhouse cultivation.