Oklahoma Farm Report masthead graphic with wheat on the left and cattle on the right.
Howdy Neighbors!
Ron Hays, Director of Farm and Ranch Programming, Radio Oklahoma Ag Network  |  2401 Exchange Ave, Suite F, Oklahoma City, Ok 73108  |  (405) 601-9211


Agricultural News

Graduate Student First to Use Aquaponics With Grafted Plants

Thu, 15 Jul 2021 08:27:09 CDT

Graduate Student First to Use Aquaponics With Grafted Plants An Oklahoma State University graduate student is changing the world one tomato at a time.

Che Deer, a master’s student in the OSU Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, is conducting research with grafted plants in three different types of environments - outdoor, greenhouse and residential indoor.

Grafting is when the root system of one plant is combined with the scion (upper stem part) of other genetically compatible plants. This is to give the plant the vigor (healthy growth) and disease resistance of one plant’s roots while giving it the delicious tasting fruit of another.

“It’s taking the best of both worlds and putting them together,” said Deer, who combined the roots of pepper and tomato plants bred for high disease resistance and vigor with the top portion of tomato and pepper plants with good food quality but low disease resistance and yield. He also combined the root system of a squash with the scion of a watermelon plant.

The purpose of his experiment is not only to see how certain grafted plants fare in the Oklahoma climate but also how well they thrive in different types of production systems. Deer is the first to combine the sustainable practices of grafting, media-bed aquaponics and hydroponics together.

Grafted plants take in nutrients more efficiently than non-grafted plants, which allows them to grow faster. This translates into higher yield and faster growth rates. Plants also typically do better in controlled system environments due to nutrient availability, climate regulation and other factors.

Deer’s research studies two areas: propagation, which refers to breeding plants by natural processes, and production, or how well they develop and produce.

“In the propagation study, the goal is to test what the ideal environmental conditions are to enable the plants to heal, and Che has had a very high success rate,” said Bizhen Hu, assistant professor of horticulture and Deer’s thesis adviser.

Grafted peppers usually have an 80% or better survival rate, but Deer’s indoor and greenhouse treatments have shown a 100% survival rate while his outdoor treatment has had a 96.6% survival rate. Grafted watermelons traditionally have a 60% to 70% survival rate, but Deer’s watermelons have had a 90% to 100% survival rate. His tomatoes are also experiencing a high survival rate and minimal signs of stress, such as wilting, decay, early flowering or the root stalk growing its own shoots.

“We’re looking for ways to minimize resources and make the most out of what we have,” Deer said. “If we can do that through grafting and controlled system agriculture, then I believe this research is going to make a difference for commercial producers, home growers and Extension and high schools.”

Another goal of this Agriculture Research is commercializing the heirloom variety Cherokee purple tomato, a highly sought-after plant due to its high quality in size, appearance and taste, but it has two downfalls: low yield and lack of disease resistance. By grafting, Deer and Hu are making the tomato disease-resistant and vigorous.

Deer also has a bachelor’s degree in fisheries and aquatic ecology from OSU. He said he wants to use controlled system agriculture and his knowledge of fisheries and horticulture to help people.

“Growing up in tribal territory, I remember not having the best access to clean and healthy food. We ate government commodities, which are not the best for you. Where I grew up, there are elevated rates of heart disease and diabetes, and most people don’t live past 50 to 65,” said Deer, who is part of the Kickapoo Nation and grew up in Red Rock.

“Once I got out into the world, I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I knew I wanted to help people. The Center for Sovereign Nations brought issues like food sovereignty to my attention,” he said. “Without them and their leadership, I wouldn't be in this program. I don’t necessarily know where I’m going to be two years from now, but I do know that it’s going to be helping someone.”


WebReadyTM Powered by WireReady® NSI


Top Agricultural News

  • Texas & Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association announces Cody Maxwell the 2020 Outstanding County Extension Agent  Sat, 24 Jul 2021 07:36:43 CDT
  • House Agriculture Committee to Consider WHIP+ Extension for 2020, 2021 as Senators Boozman, Hoeven Tee Up Similar Package   Sat, 24 Jul 2021 07:32:00 CDT
  • Webinar Overview: Eric Stonestreet Celebrates Pig Farming   Sat, 24 Jul 2021 07:29:31 CDT
  • Friday, July 23, 2021 Market Wrap-Up with Justin Lewis  Fri, 23 Jul 2021 17:07:41 CDT
  • Oklahoma Grain Elevator Cash Bids as of 2:00 p.m, Friday, July 23  Fri, 23 Jul 2021 15:45:26 CDT
  • OKFB Foundation for Agriculture announces $16,000 in Educational Grants  Fri, 23 Jul 2021 13:16:28 CDT
  • Smart Irrigation practices Benefit plants and Budgets  Fri, 23 Jul 2021 13:10:33 CDT
  • Plexus Cotton Market Report - July 22, 2021  Fri, 23 Jul 2021 13:07:16 CDT

  • More Headlines...


    Ron salutes our daily email sponsors!

    Oklahoma Beef council Oklahoma Ag Credit Oklahoma Farm Bureau National Livestock Credit Ag Mediation Program P&K Equipment Tulsa Farm Show Union Mutual Stillwater Milling Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association KIS FUTURES, INC.

    Our Road to Rural Prosperity sponsors!


    Search OklahomaFarmReport.com

    © 2008-2021 Oklahoma Farm Report
    Email Ron   |   Newsletter Signup   |    Current Spots   |    Program Links

    WebReady powered by WireReady® Inc.