Local Interest

By Dave Ostdiek, Communications Associate
UNL Panhandle Research and Extension Center

As a growing population competes for available freshwater supplies, depletion of groundwater aquifers will be a growing challenge to water policy managers in the United States. Adopting policies to address this issue is a matter of understanding the causes and the local hydrology, then choosing a policy that fits water-management goals.

These are some of the lessons that emerge from a recent issue paper published by a national science policy group. The paper is based partly on experience and expertise from western Nebraska. It highlights a case study of what happened in the Panhandle when over-development caused aquifer depletion along a stream.

A free webinar will be offered April 23 via the web for farm and ranch families. The webinar will take place at noon (CST) and can be accessed at go.unl.edu/farmstresswebinar. Wellness in Tough Times will be presented by Nebraska Extension Educators Glennis McClure and Brandy VanDeWalle starting at 12:00 p.m. (CST). This free webinar is available for farm and ranch families to participate and will provide strategies for dealing with the stress of farming or ranching in today’s difficult economic environment.

By Gary Stone, Extension Educator, Panhandle Extension District

Early Detection and Rapid Response (EDRR) is a concept to identify potential invasive species prior to or just as the establishment of the invasive is taking place. An Integrated Pest Management plan (IPM) can be developed to manage, contain and eradicate the invasive species before it can spread further.  This will avoid costly, long-term control efforts.

A native species that has become a major problem in Panhandle and Sandhills rangeland is Marestail or Horseweed, a native annual forb also known as Canadian horseweed and Canada fleabane.  

By Jessica Groskopf and Jim Jansen, UNL Agricultural Economists

The Preliminary Nebraska Farm Real Estate Market Survey Results released this month by the University of Nebraska revealed that Nebraska agricultural land declined in value for the reporting year ending Feb. 1, 2019.

This marks the fifth consecutive year of downward pressure, as market values have dropped approximately 20 percent since reaching a high in 2014. The average farmland value in the Panhandle is estimated to be $685 per acre, 4 percent lower than the prior year. 

“Keep Life Simple” is the theme of the annual Women in Agriculture Conference, which will feature information and advice about simplicity and excellence, making meals with a multi-cooker, forage production, youth loans, farming with disabilities, and more.

This year’s conference is scheduled for Friday, April 12, 2019 at Sidney. It will run from 8:15 a.m. until 3:45 p.m. at Buffalo Point Restaurant, 638 Cabela Drive.

The 2018 conference was canceled due to weather, but is being brought back in 2019.

The conference is intended to help women who are involved in agriculture improve their decision-making, increase understanding, and enhance their well-being in relation to their farm, ranch or agriculture-related business.

A research team at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Panhandle Research and Extension Center is developing a method of scheduling irrigation for dry edible beans that uses a sensor to remotely check the temperature of the crop canopy to determine when the crop needs water.

The method, known as infrared radiometry thermometer (IRT), has the potential to be cheaper and easier to install and manage than soil-moisture probes, according to Xin Qiao, Irrigation and Water Management Specialist at the Panhandle Center.

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