Local Interest

The crop research plots at the Panhandle Research and Extension Center on the edge of Scottsbluff occupy several hundred acres, altogether. Some of the plots are an acre or less in size, some are dozens of acres.

Among the sugarbeets, dry edible beans, corn, wheat, sunflowers and various alternative crops, is a small patch of pepper plants.

It’s not the peppers that researchers are interested in, but the thin sheets of mulch that cover the ground around each row of plants.

These thin plastic sheets are a new type of biodegradable mulch under development by 3M. Biodegradable mulch is commonly called biomulch because the plastic is made from polylactic acid (PLA), derived from corn, not petroleum.

       A pair of Scottsbluff High School Students, one who graduated in 2017 and one who will be a senior in the fall, are exchanging roles this summer, becoming teachers to younger students at a Scottsbluff elementary school.

      Teens as Teachers is a pilot program that Nebraska Extension is trying in Scotts Bluff, Hall, Madison and Colfax counties. According to local coordinator Leo Sierra, Teens as Teachers is aimed at providing positive learning experiences to under-served audiences by youthful teachers who look like them.

Jackie Guzman, Extension Educator
Scotts Bluff County

Now that children are home from school on summer break, parents can spend the next three months just keeping them busy, or else they can seize an opportunity to build a stronger family and maybe create new traditions.

Many families have their own traditions. As long as I can remember, every December my family’s tradition has been to make tamales together – a very labor intensive process.  Regardless, we all look forward to our annual family gathering.

By Gary Stone, Extension Educator, Panhandle R&E Center, Scottsbluff

Early Detection and Rapid Response (EDRR) is a concept to identify potential invasive species prior to or just as the invasive is becoming established. An integrated pest management (IPM) plan can be developed to manage, contain and eradicate the invasive species before it can spread further, avoiding costly, long-term control efforts.

By John Thomas, Extension Educator, Box Butte County

In recent years more growers in the central high plains are moving toward direct harvest of dry edible beans instead of the conventional method of undercutting/windrowing, and then combining.

Direct harvest is accomplished by one pass with the combine. About half the time a crop desiccant herbicide is applied pre-harvest when direct harvesting beans.

Currently in the Panhandle more than 20 percent of growers are direct harvesting their dry beans. Other growing regions such as North Dakota, Michigan and Canada are using direct harvest for the majority of their dry bean harvest.

By Jessica Groskopf, Extension Educator

While it's still fresh in your mind, now is the time to make changes to your farm or ranch record keeping system.

There are many programs available to help organize a farm or ranch’s financial information. Nebraska Extension has been teaching Quicken courses for the past few months. Quicken is an affordable and flexible system that can easily be used for most farms and ranches. Anybody who already has Quicken can take these four steps do to improve their Quicken file for 2017.

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