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Mexico Project Demonstrates Vetiver’s Versatility

Updated: Nov 13, 2023

The Huasteca Regenerative Agriculture Center (HRAC) is poised to demonstrate the multiple uses of vetiver grass, several of which support the center’s focus on regenerative agricultural practices.

In conjunction with Terra Advocati and Texas State University (TSU), the center was awarded a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Scientific Cooperation Research Program grant under which we collect research data on the ability of vetiver to reduce the flow of agrochemicals from sugar cane fields into nearby rivers.

Data collection for these Vetiver Systems will continue this year, and into the next.. In addition, we have planted vetiver rows away from cane fields to study vetiver’s ability to increase water penetration and soil moisture on slopes.

The main building of the HRAC is located near a dusty road with considerable truck traffic. We have planted a row of vetiver between the building and the road to serve as both a sound and dust barrier. We are using vetiver cuttings as mulch around the trunks of fruit trees to retain soil moisture and reduce root stress as we enter the hottest and driest season of the year. Vetiver’s water purification capabilities will come into play this year when we install the gray and black water outflow component of our new latrine and shower building.

Over the next few growing seasons, we also intend to test vetiver’s ability to serve as a trap crop barrier that inhibits costly infestations of sugarcane stem borers. Under the USDA grant, TX State University will use a distillation process to extract vetiver oil used in the perfume industry and for medicinal purposes. Vetiver has other uses of potential benefit, so we will continue experimenting to find the most viable uses for the vetiver for our region of Mexico and beyond.

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