Local Interest

The peppers were harvested weeks ago from a small research plot at the Panhandle Center where a type of fabric mulch is being tested for potential use in USDA certified organic produce fields.

During the off season, researchers are checking to see what becomes of the biodegradable mulch, an experimental product from 3M that is being tested to see if it is suitable for USDA-certified organic vegetable production.

Last spring, six rows of peppers were planted through 3-foot-wide strips of mulch. Two different types of mulch, one black and the other white, are being tested. Recently, workers were busy in the plot setting up six different treatment regimens for the harvested plots, to see if the fabric mulch will disintegrate differently under different conditions.

      Ranchers who want to reduce calf loss at calving and to learn how to properly assist cows at calving should plan to attend “Assisting the Beef Cow at Calving” programs at six locations in December, with Dr. Robert Mortimer, a nationally known veterinarian from Colorado State University.

      Dr. Mortimer will discuss handling calving difficulty, with emphasis on decision making and the hows and whys of techniques for providing assistance.

      Dr. Mortimer developed a program strongly emphasizing hands-on experience in calving management and produced a video with Elanco and Beef Today on “How to Save More Calves at Calving.”

Jim Schild and Gary Stone, Extension Educators, Scotts Bluff County

The single biggest use of water in the average western Nebraska household is irrigating the Kentucky bluegrass lawn.

But there are two alternative turfs that allow homeowners to manage water more efficiently: tall fescue, a cool-season grass, and buffalograss, a warm-season grass. Each has advantages and disadvantages.

Tall fescue can use more water than bluegrass, but its advantage is a deep, extensive root system, which can extend as deep as 2 ½ to 3 feet in western Nebraska soils. The effective rooting depth for Kentucky bluegrass is 6 to 8 inches.

By Jim Schild and Gary Stone, Extension Educators, UNL Panhandle Research and Extension Center

Fertilizing a turf grass lawn is a lot more than just buying a bag of fertilizer and spreading it all in the spring.

There are several decisions to make. One is how much fertilizer to apply; another is when to apply it. And spring is not the best time to apply most of the year's fertilizer.

The goal of a good fertilizer program is to keep growth at a minimum while maintaining a good, thick, dense, well-colored lawn. To reach the goal, at least two-thirds of the fertilizer should be applied during the fall to thicken the turf and help the grass recover after the summer stress.

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.

Jessica Groskopf, Extension Educator – Ag Economics

Panhandle Research and Extension Center, Scottsbluff

Jim Jansen, Extension Educator, Northeast R&E Center

 The Nebraska Farm Real Estate Market Survey Results recently released by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln revealed that Nebraska Panhandle agricultural land declined in value for the reporting year ending Feb. 1, 2017.

The average farmland value in the region is estimated to be $755 per acre, 8 percent lower than the prior year. This is the third consecutive year of market value decline.



Nebraska Extension Scotts Bluff County

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Panhandle Perspectives: New geophysical equipment at UNL Panhandle Center heralds major research advances

January 19, 2022
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln Conservation and Survey Division (CSD) School of Natural Resources has established a new applied geophysics research program in Scottsbluff that is prepared to investigate environmental and agricultural issues in the Scottsbluff area and elsewhere in Nebraska.

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Faculty Spotlight: Maria de Guzman

January 18, 2022
Meet Maria de Guzman, professor and Extension specialist in the Department of Child, Youth and Family Studies, as well as chair for the Department of Textiles, Merchandising and Fashion Design.

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Digging into Extension: The Right Path for Jenny Rees

January 13, 2022
Her story begins the same as many others in agriculture.

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Student scholarships available for 2022 Women in Agriculture conference

January 12, 2022
The Nebraska Women in Agriculture Conference will award up to 15 scholarships to students to attend the 2022 Nebraska Women in Agriculture Conference, Feb. 24 and 25 in Kearney.

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