Western Colorado Research Center

The Western Colorado Research Center (WCRC) consists of three stations that collaborate to advance knowledge in the agricultural, biological, soil and water-related sciences, while also promoting regional engagement in community development, food systems and natural resources projects. Located centrally on Colorado’s Western Slope, the research stations at Fruita and Orchard Mesa are based in Mesa County, home to a diversity of irrigated crops, while the research station at Rogers Mesa is nestled in the high-altitude agricultural area of Delta County.
Research Stations

The Orchard Mesa Research Station is located 7 miles southeast of Grand Junction. The station sits at an altitude of approximately 4750 feet with an average growing season of 150 to 182 frost-free days. The research conducted at this site includes tree fruits, wine grape production, and ornamental horticulture. This station conducts and hosts research involving tree fruits, wine grape production, and ornamental horticulture. This station has separate climate controlled greenhouse, as well as office and laboratory facilities.

The Fruita Research Station is located in the Grand Valley of Mesa County, where the average annual rainfall of 8 to 12 inches is similar to much of the arid irrigated regions of Western Colorado.  The Fruita Research Station addresses the challenges associated with conserving and efficiently using agricultural water, given that the majority of Colorado water rights are used for farming and food production.  The frost-free season of up to 175 days and average annual daily minimum and maximum temperatures of 41°F and 64°F, respectively, allow the Fruita Research Station to conduct the bulk of agronomic research at the Western Colorado Research Center.  This station propels knowledge on integrated cropping systems and alternative crops and forages. Additional to these efforts, the station hosts crop variety trials in partnership with industry and other universities.

Rogers Mesa Research Station re-opened in 2017 after being closed for several years. The site has nearly 80 acres of land, of which 65 are cultivable and most of it will be certified organic in 2018. The proposed research foci at RMRS addresses organic agriculture with an emphasis on tree fruits, table grapes, wine grapes, organic seed production and greenhouse studies. The Rogers Mesa Research Station is located 3 miles west of Hotchkiss, Colorado with an average growing season of 125 days. The site elevation of 5,800 feet represents high altitude fruit production of Delta County. The soil is comprised of mesa (loam), utaline (stony loam) and agua fria (stony loam) types.

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