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ALARC HIGHLIGHTS - What's New at the Arid-Land Agricultural Research Center

ALARC Highlights Archive


U.S. Arid-Land Agricultural Research Center hosts a seminar series each year from September through May.  This provides a way to keep our staff, other researchers and our stakeholders abreast of the latest research developments on a wide range of topics. All interested persons are invited and encouraged to attend the seminar presentations.

Questions or suggestions for future topics may be directed to the Acting Center Director ( or

Seminars are held in the US ALARC conference room, 21881 N. Cardon Lane, Maricopa. For directions to the facility please download this map.


Recent ALARC News


 Pink Bollworm eradication. ALARC and other ARS scien-tists made substantive contributions the elimination of the pink bollworm from much of the U.S. and Mexico. A detailed history of this crucial effort is given. From National Public Radio, ARS, and Imperial Valley Press [Link] [Link] [Link]

Integrated Pest Management in AZ Cotton. Overviews are given of an ALARC scientist’s research efforts that have been integral to driving the adoption and improvement of integrated pest management practices in cotton. From Pinal Central and Cotton Farming [Link] [Link]

Water and Salt Management in Yuma. An ALARC scientist has been working to update water usage guidelines for growers in Yuma to maximize yields while reducing consumption and salt accumulation. From the Maricopa Monitor [Link]

Drip Irrigation in Cotton. Water conservation through usage of drip irrigation systems refined by ALARC scientists. From Western Farm Press [Link]

Reclaimed Wastewater for Irrigation. An ALARC scientist who is a wastewater specialists shares his views on solving water shortage issues. From USDA and ARS [Link] [Link]

ALARC Intern Wins Contest at Purdue. Working with an ALARC scientist, a repeat student intern was able to win a re-search competition that highlighted her work on plant fats. From Purdue University [Link]

Rapid Phenotyping Gantry System. An overview is given of the automated scanning platform shared by ALARC with other institutions. From Wall Street Journal [Link]



Drones for irrigation management. An ALARC scientist shows how drones are being used to scan and map crop conditions and help growers determine how to most efficiently manage irrigation water for optimal yields. From Cronkite News at Arizona State University and the Maricopa Monitor [Link] [Link]

ALARC recognized for research accomplishments. ALARC scientists are working on a number of fronts to help agriculture to be more productive and economical. Highlighted is the Center’s recent work on biological control of fungi that produce aflatoxin, a potent human and animal toxin that infests many desert crops, and the development of alternative crops that reduce water use and provide growers with options. From the Maricopa Monitor [Link]

Tracking water use and salinity in Yuma. ALARC scientist are cooperating with University of Arizona, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Cotton Inc., irrigation district managers, and private growers to measure and improve water use efficiency and salinity management in a variety of Yuma crops with sophisticated proximal and remote sensing technology. From Western Farm Press [Link]

Unlocking the secrets of plant energy. In collaboration with scientists at the University of North Texas and the University of Guelph, ALARC scientists are gaining a better understanding of how to improve the storage and utilization of lipids in plants as a source of renewable bioenergy. From University of North Texas News [Link]

Secretary Perdue visits Arizona. As part of the 5th Annual Arizona Agribusiness Roundtable, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue sat down with Arizona Department of Agriculture Mark Killian to discuss trade and other agricultural issues affecting Arizona. From Western Farm Press [Link]

Farm Science Day 2020. After the Federal Government shutdown in 2018/2019 scuttled Farm Science Day 2019, ALARC was anxious to host their annual outreach event in 2020. The late February 2020 date was postponed due to rain and the COVID-19 pandemic eventually forced us to cancel our rain-date in mid March. We look forward to a big comeback in 2021! The event focuses on educating the local community about agriculture and the science behind it in family friendly environment. From the Maricopa Monitor [Link] [Link]



Pink Bollworm Eradicated from the USA and Northern Mexico. After a 16 year multi-institutional program in the southwestern USA and the three northern states of Mexico, the pink bollworm was declared officially eradicated in October of 2018. ALARC and one of its founding predecessors, the Western Cotton Research Lab in Phoenix, was instrumental in developing many of the technologies that made the program possible. [link] [link]

Benefits of Some Genetically Engineered Seeds Extend Beyond Pest Control. Genetically engineered crops that produce the insecticidal proteins of a common bacteria (Bacillus thuringiensis, Bt) may enable biological control to function better because of the reduction in broader-spectrum insecticides once needed to control major pest insects now controlled by the plant. [link]

Public-Private Partnership to Solve Real Time Agricultural Problems. An ALARC scientist is collaborating in research to use remote and proximal sensing technology to improve irrigation efficiency in vegetable crop production in Yuma. [link]

Project Puente Student Interns. ALARC once again hosted a number of high school and college undergraduate that  spent 8 weeks with a mentor scientist and completed their own research projects. Internships were capped with students presenting their poster at a special event. [Link] Dr. Crystal McKenna presented a TEDx talk at Central Arizona College that explores the changing faces of scientists and talks about Project Puente as a vehicle to increase diversity in STEM fields [link

Tools for Entomological Research. Two ALARC scientists along with several other USDA-ARS scientists have published a special issue in the journal Annals of the Entomological Society of America focused on innovative tools for studying insect behavior and biological control.  [link]

Growing Crops with Less Water. Scientists from ALARC were featured in the Maricopa Monitor for their work on using proximal sensing technologies for accurately assessing the water needs of crops such as cotton.  [link]

Enhanced Crop Breeding through High Throughput Phenotyping. Scientists from ALARC were featured in the Maricopa Monitor for their work on using proximal sensing technologies to measure crop health during periods of heat and drought stress. [link]

ALARC Student HTP Team. In early May, a group of interns from Central Arizona College presented some of the work they’ve been involved with at ALARC focused on high throughput phenotyping (HTP) data processing and database development. [link


ALARC Environmental Management System (EMS) Policy Statement

Click [here] to read the location's EMS policy statement as a PDF


ARS News Articles

Genetically Modified Corn Does Not Damage Non-Target Organisms
Jun 06, 2022
Helping Arizona Wheat Growers Maximize Resources
Jan 11, 2017
Deciding When to Spray: Sometimes It Is More than Just Numbers
Jan 13, 2014
Aerial Imagery System Helps Save Water
Sep 14, 2009
Remediated Water Expands Irrigation Options
Jan 12, 2009
New Tools Aid Arid-Land Water Management
Jan 05, 2009
Non-Target Insects Probably Affected More by Insecticides than by Bt Crops
Nov 24, 2008
Breeding Heat-Tolerant Cotton
Feb 19, 2008
Breeding Cotton to Beat the Heat
Feb 05, 2008
To Catch a Pest, Scientists Fine-Tune Traps
Nov 28, 2006