Local Interest

Dave Ostdiek Communication/Technology Associate

The Panhandle Research and Extension Center has embarked on a partnership with a family farm corporation in Scotts Bluff County, Western Farms LLC, to conduct scientific research on growing industrial hemp for seed production in the Panhandle.

The public-private joint venture will take place in Scottsbluff and is titled “Evaluation of Hemp Seed Production in Greenhouse Environment in Western Nebraska.”

Robert M. Harveson, Extension Plant Pathologist
Panhandle R&E Center, Scottsbluff

The Panhandle Research and Extension Center (REC) was begun in 1910 with the establishment of the Scotts Bluff Experimental Substation.

Although the Department of Plant Pathology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) was not formally established until 1920, a decade later, plant pathology had a significant presence in western Nebraska even before the Substation in Scottsbluff was created.

Nebraska has one of the highest summer pasture rental rates in the nation for cow-calf pairs or stocker/yearlings, on a price-per-pair-per-month or price-per-head basis. Prices remain historically quite strong, although they have moderated after the rapid run-up that occurred after 2014 and 2015. Reported pasture rental rates are documented in a survey published annually by Nebraska Extension titled “Nebraska Farm Real Estate Report,” which can be found at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Ag Economics website at agecon.unl.edu. This all points to the importance, for ranchers, of understanding good management of their pastures. A number of factors contribute to the strong pasture rental rates found in Nebraska, including these three:

Robert M. Harveson, Extension Plant Pathologist
Panhandle R&E Center, Scottsbluff 

Goss’ wilt and leaf blight is a destructive bacterial disease of corn, caused by Clavibacter michiganensis subsp. nebraskense. It was first identified in 1969 from Dawson County near Lexington making it a true Nebraska native.

Over the next decade, it was identified from at least 53 other counties in Nebraska and also spread into Iowa, South Dakota, Kansas, and Colorado. The disease was eventually identified from additional U.S. corn-growing states before disappearing in the mid-1980s just as suddenly as it first appeared. 

Jackie Guzman, Extension Educator Scotts Bluff County

How are your children doing?

In recent months our state has experienced several natural disasters with flooding, storms causing hail damage to property and crops, and most recently the collapse of a tunnel in the irrigation canal serving Wyoming and Nebraska farmers impacting thousands of acres of farm land. Anyone who was not directly impacted by a disaster this year probably knows someone who has, teaching us that we are not immune to such events.

These events can cause heightened anxiety and stress in adults. So what are the implications for children?

Robert M. Harveson, Extension Plant Pathologist
Panhandle R&E Center, Scottsbluff

Bacterial wilt of dry beans, caused by Curtobacterium flaccufaciens pv. flaccumfaciens (Cff), has historically posed sporadic but often serious production problems in dry beans throughout the irrigated High Plains since its first report from South Dakota in 1922. In the early 1980s, the disease mysteriously disappeared, appearing only periodically on cull seeds at the processing plants, but with little economic damage.

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