Researchers Hoping to Help Farmers Save Money

by Anayeli Ruiz
NewsWest 9

BIG SPRING - Plans are in the works to save cotton farmers time and money planting their crops.

Researchers in Big Spring are moving closer to newer technology that will allow cotton crops to withstand all the elements in West Texas.

With winds often reaching more than 20 miles per hour and lots of sand storms. It's no surprise that the cotton doesn't survive very long in west Texas.

"Because the sand hits the plants and the leaves fall down. The plant cannot survive without the leaves," Dr. Jhonathan Ephrath, with the Agricultural Research Service, said.

Doctor Jhonathan Ephrath knows the dry weather and sand blasts pretty well.

He's from Israel and says the area is similar to ours.

"We do have problems with water and we also have problems with sand storms, mainly coming from Africa and the Sahara Desert, so this is why we are interested in this project," Ephrath said.

But now Ephrath is doing something to help farmers keep their cotton growing through the storms.

"What we found up to now is that the plants will survive as long as the plant has about 5-6 leaves,"  Ephrath said.

That is why they have created a wind tunnel to simulate an actual sand storm.

"And sand is running for about 40 minutes, which is more or less like the storm occurs, then we collect the plant and put them back in a greenhouse to see how they survive," Ephrath said.

So far, the research has been going on for four years.

The work is far from over but Ephrath and others say they're on the right path to finding something to help farmers.