The Texas A&M University System purchased 373 acres of farmland from the estate of Ardella Helm in December, 1999, for the sole purpose of conducting large scale research and extension programs to enhance producer profitability and sustainability in an irrigated environment. The farm is located 2 miles south of the Texas Agricultural Research and Extension Center at Halfway in Hale County.
Current projects at the Helms Research Farm involve production options and economics of subsurface drip irrigation (SDI) and site-specific farming. Other research projects include weed and insect control, plant breeding and yield trials for several commodities and production systems projects. Irrigated experiments were conducted under the 130-acre center pivot and on 86-acres of SDI.
The soils are predominantly deep clay loams and silty clay loams, with 0-1% and 1-3% slopes, moderately to moderately slowly permeable subsoils and high water and fertility holding capacities. Supplemental water for irrigation comes from four wells, 320 to 340 feet deep, pumped at rates of 300 to 400 gallons per minute each.
The Helms Committee members make recommendations regarding the development and general research direction to Dr. Jaroy Moore, Resident Director, Texas Agricultural Experiment Station, Lubbock. The members are:
|Jim Bordovsky, M.S.||Irrigation Engineer||TAES|
|John Gannaway, Ph.D.||Cotton Breeder||TAES|
|Wayne Keeling, Ph.D.||Agronomist – weed scientist||TAES|
|Doug Nesmith, M.S.||Farm Research Manager||TAES|
|Gary Peterson, Ph.D.||Sorghum Breeder||TAES|
|Calvin Trostle, Ph.D.||Agronomist – non-cotton||TCE|
|Wenwei Xu, Ph.D.||Corn Breeder||TAES and TTU|