Dr Vasile Cerven examines one of the the lettuce varieties grown hydroponically at the Uvalde center

Dr. Vasile Cerven examines one of the the lettuce varieties grown hydroponically at the Uvalde center.

Hydroponics lettuce production reduces water use

Research indicates potential for 85 to 90 percent water savings.

Drought is part of agriculture in Texas.

Abundant rainfall through spring and early summer may have replenished reservoirs and soil moisture profiles. Farmers know they will face other droughts.

Consequently, vegetable producers in Southwest Texas know it’s essential to find alternative, efficient water use methods. Recent research at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center in Uvalde examined the possibilities for hydroponic production of high-value lettuce, using minimal water.

Center Director Daniel Leskovar says vegetable producers have been interested in water-saving processes.

“Field production of vegetable crops in Southwest Texas is limited by strict regulations of water use for irrigation and by adverse environmental conditions such as drought and heat stress,” said Leskovar, also a Texas A&M AgriLife Research vegetable physiologist. “Because of this, the vegetable industry has been increasingly interested in maximizing water-use efficiency when growing premium leafy vegetables with consumer appeal.”

AgriLife Research has been collaborating with the Uvalde County Underground Water Conservation District on a grant from the Texas Department of Agriculture to study water-use efficiency and other aspects of high-value lettuce types.

“The Uvalde water district is our primary partner in this research and is instrumental in helping us with the direction of this study and in determining the use of the results,” Leskovar said.

Read the complete report here. 

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