By: Miosotis Acosta
The Agricultural Experimental Substation of Lajas, Puerto Rico is one of the six Experimental Stations that the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez campus have.These agricultural experimental substation consists of a small animals farm and a dairy farm. These facilities are used as investigations and educational sites for the UPRM Agricultural Sciences Department.
The UPRM is the second largest university campus of the University of Puerto Rico system. The campus is also known for been the premier science and engineering institution of the Caribbean and Latin America. The university comprise the Colleges of Agricultural Sciences, Arts and Sciences, Engineering, Business Administration and the Division of continuing Education and Professional Studies. This campus also have other facilities included in the different departments.
The College of Agricultural Sciences comprise some programs that are helpful for the students. The Agricultural Experimental Station and the Agricultural Extension Service. These stations are located in different parts of Puerto Rico; Adjuntas, Corozal, Lajas, Juana Diaz, Gurabo and Isabela. This department also have two investigative centers located in Rio Piedras and Mayaguez, P.R. The purposes of these experimental stations are to develop a investigative program in each one.
The investigative centers purpose is to give administrative, technical and financial support for scientist. To address the scientific necessities, find funds to make investigative projects possible. And one of the main purposes of these investigative centers is to maintain a data base of the scientists, investigation projects, proposals and publications.
“These experimental programs will help me achieve my goals.” Said Karitza Velazquez a students from the Agricultural Sciences Department.
The UPR is one of the few universities in PR that have programs about animal sciences. The College of Agricultural Sciences have been known through out all the island and United States because of these special programs.
These special programs include the six Agricultural experimental substations, as mentioned earlier. One of the substations is located in the city of Corozal, where the departments of Agricultural Sciences make investigations about plantains, bananas and a lot more. This substation help agronomists and students to know more about on crops of P.R. and its various functions.
Students from the UPRM have research from different students and topics. Some of the projects are Plant genetic resource conservation and utilization: Plantains and bananas, by the student Agenol Gonzalez; Management of plant parasitic nematodes in crops in economic importance, by the student Jose Chavarria; and Potential Fodder trees and shrubs for meat goats in the Caribbean Basin, by Elide Valencia.
Another Agricultural Experimental Substation of the UPR is found in Adjuntas, P.R. This substation investigation is almost based on coffee. It was establish in 1952 at the Llinas farm and in 1963 it was moved to the Limani neighborhood.
The Adjuntas experimental substation not only makes investigations about coffee but also about citrics, platains, bananas, ornamentals and hydroponics. This substation also makes conferences and workshops for agronomists, farmers and the community. Some of its active projects are High value speciality crop pest management, Weed and diseases control alternative for seed bed and coffee nursery and Impact evaluation of the environmental coffee processing system in P.R. among others.
In Juana Diaz, P.R. there is other of this Agricultural Experimental Substations. This substation was funded in 1959, in it we can find collections of mangos, avocados, guavas, acerolas, among others. It has approximately 30 acres dedicated to mangos, because of its high economic value.
“The mango is one of the most important fruit here in the island.” Said John Fernandez Van Clave, professor from the Agricultural Sciences Department.
This substation not only works with mangos but also have investigations about platains,irrigation systems, bananas and other crops. Some of the selected investigations made in this substations include; Administration of the Agricultural Experiment Station of Juana Diaza, by Irma Cabrera, Planta Genetic resource conservation and utilization: Guavas and other Tropical fruits, by Ruben Velez among other fruit related projects.
Founded in 1953 by an official of the Agricultural Experimental Station the Gurabo substation was created. This substation unlike the others was used in the years between 1910-1920 was used to plant sugarcane and livestock. After that in 1940 it was acquired by the United States Federal Government to create the O’Reilly Military Camp.
Nowadays this fields are used in various investigations that includes topics about sugarcane, tobacco and other crops. Some of the active projects help in this substation include; High value special crop pest management, Dairy herd management in P.R. and even Prevalence of Paratuberculosis in P.R. Dairy Industry.
“This substation is one of the most importance for students in the field of pre-veterinary and livestock industry.” Said Teodoro Ruiz, professor of the Agricultural Sciences Department.
By 1929 the substation of Isabela was establish the Guerrero neighborhood, becoming the first substation created and establish in the island. The first mission that this substation had was to acquired the surplus water from the Guajataca hydroelectric plant to generate the agricultural zone there.
This substation make investigations about those agricultural enterprises that were of greater importance in Puerto Rico. Here they realized the first investigations about assessments of fertilizer formulas, its quantity and frequency and among others.