As drought continues throughout much of the Southwest, the demand for high-quality water has redirected supplies from crops to other uses.
As a result, growers of crops such as chiles are left to use irrigation supplies with higher saline content, according to a news release.
When crops are grown in soils with higher saline content, they are often stunted and have lower yields because salts inhibit nutrient and water uptake.
To help chile pepper growers in New Mexico and other Southwestern locales, New Mexico State University researchers Paul Bosland and April Ulery led a study examining germination of specific varieties under saline conditions.
Saline content is often higher in the soil surface, where seeds are planted, because water moves toward the surface. When it evaporates, salt is left behind.
Along with graduate student Evan Call, they found that Early Jalapeño had the highest emergence percentage at 81 percent, followed by NuMex Sweet and P.I. 140375, each with momre than 70 percent.
They also collaborated on a similar study with Texas A&M University researchers. NMCA 10652 and Early Jalapeño were the most salt-tolerant varieties in that trial.