researcher testing irrigated crop

Our facilities include several hundred acres of research plots, irrigation systems and other equipment, wellequipped greenhouses, and laboratories. In addition to the 14 faculty members, staff includes nearly 40 administrative and support personnel for management and clerical and technical assistance.

Research is focused on crops and conditions specific to the High Plains of western Nebraska, such as corn, dry edible beans, sugarbeets, and specialty crops or alternative crops that show potential.

tractor in field

Irrigation systems and methods reflect those used throughout western Nebraska

  • Four linear-move systems
  • Subsurface drip irrigation system
  • Sideroll system
  • Center pivot irrigation system
  • Surge irrigation
  • Conventional furrow irrigation

The Scotts Bluff Ag Lab, surrounding the Panhandle R&E Center, comprises 156 acres of irrigated research plots. The Mitchell Ag Lab, 5 miles to the north (the original experimental station site), has 269 acres of irrigated plots.

The plots range from less than 1 acre to nearly 20 acres. Smaller plots typically are used for concentrated research, and larger plots allow the specialists to approximate the scale of production in "real world" farming, or conduct field days and demonstrations.

The headquarters, the 70,000-square-foot Elliott Building, houses faculty offices, research laboratories, meeting rooms, greenhouses, and multimedia development center. Communication technology includes ethernet and wireless networks, extensive server capacity, interactive videoconferencing technology, and a largeformat printer.

Laboratories

  • Weed science
  • Entomology
  • Plant pathology
  • Soil sciences
  • Equipment/irrigation
  • Range ecology
  • Plant breeding, genetics, genomics and biotechnology for dry edible bean
  • Plant breeding, genetics, genomics and biotechnology for alternative crops (esp. proso and foxtail millets)

Examples of Specialized Research

  • Variety trials
  • Pathology studies
  • Fertility studies
  • Planting date studies
  • Alternative crops trials
  • Breeding, genetics, and genomics of proso millet
  • Crop rotation and tillage studies, including no-till
  • Irrigation systems, including subsurface drip
  • Deficit irrigation
  • Dry bean breeding nurseries and trials
  • Screening of exotic germplasm
  • Regional dry bean and chickpea trials
  • Breeding nurseries
  • Entomology studies
  • Weed control studies
people in field

Relationship with UNL, industry and stakeholders

Research projects are conceived, planned and supervised by UNL faculty based in the Panhandle. Collaborators sometimes include colleagues from other UNL campuses, other universities, or state or federal agencies. Research needs are identified in cooperating with producer/commodity groups, food processors, chemical companies, or other agri-businesses. Funding often comes from these sources, as well as federal, state and local government sources.

Cooperating landowners frequently agree to host agronomic trials or test new farming methods