Local Interest

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.

Nebraska Extension will conduct chemigation certification training sessions through early April at Alliance, Sidney, Bridgeport, and Scottsbluff, as well as other sites around Nebraska, such as North Platte and Ainsworth.

Producers who plan to apply crop nutrients and pesticides through irrigation systems during 2019, including those who need to renew their 2018 permits, are required to attend a training session and pass the test administered afterward. Attendees are asked to pre-register at the extension office whose session they plan to attend. They will receive a training manual and calibration workbook to review before the training session.

Research findings and industry updates will be the focus of the Nebraska Extension Beef Feedlot Roundtables Feb. 12-14, 2019.

The first workshop will be Feb. 12 at Bridgeport, beginning with registration at 12:30 p.m. at Prairie Winds Community Center. Registration begins at 12:30 p.m., followed by presentations from 1 to 5 p.m. Following the program, Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) training and certification or recertification will be available each day. The meeting is organized by Nebraska Extension and the Nebraska Beef Council.

Online registration is encouraged and available at https://go.unl.edu/2019roundtable. Cost is $20 at the door if preregistered and $40 for walk-ins.

Cutworm numbers have been on the increase in western Nebraska over the past several years, and the damage they can cause to dry edible bean fields has bean growers and others in the industry concerned.

Luckily, it is not too difficult or too expensive to control cutworms. But effective control depends on applying insecticide at the right time. And knowing the right time is a matter of monitoring populations of cutworm moths, which lay the eggs that produce the cutworms.

A hands-on workshop scheduled for early March is designed to train people to identify cutworms from all the other moths, and show how to monitor populations. It is organized by UNL Extension Entomologist Jeff Bradshaw, based at the Panhandle Research and Extension Center in Scottsbluff.

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