Panhandle Agriculture Research and Technology Tour |

Panhandle Agriculture Research and Technology Tour

Dry edible beans are shown growing in a research plot with a subsurface drip irrigation system at the Panhandle Research and Extension Center.
Photo courtesy Nebraska Extension

With the help of the Nebraska Dry Bean Growers Association and the Nebraska Corn Board, the Panhandle Research and Extension Center will host an innovative field day, using a new format, on Aug. 29 at the Panhandle Center, 4502 Avenue I, Scottsbluff.

The Panhandle Ag Research and Technology Tour will feature demonstrations of new equipment and technology in common irrigated crops of the Panhandle. The tour will run from 8:45 a.m. until 4 p.m., with repeating sessions occurring throughout the day. These sessions will be longer than previous tours, giving time for questions and an opportunity for visitors to walk through the plots.

Anybody who can’t come for the entire day is free to come for any part of the event, and stay as long as they can. The tour is intended to be accessible to farmers and other ag professionals during a busy time of the year. Sponsors include the Dry Bean Growers and the Nebraska Corn Board.

For more information about the tour please contact the event organizer, Nevin Lawrence, Integrated Weed Management Specialist, at (308) 632-1230 or

Registration begins at 8:15 a.m., with welcome and introductions at 8:45 a.m. The remainder of the morning will consist of field tours from 9 a.m. until noon. Each stop on the field tour will last 45 minutes, and will be repeated throughout the morning. Tour trailers will transport the tour participants, but shuttles will be available for those who can only attend part of the tour.

Topics on the field tours include:

Breeding dry beans for Western Nebraska (Carlos Urrea, dry bean breeding specialist): Twenty six lines, great northern and pintos as well as other market classes, have the potential to be released as cultivars and variety trials are being conducted at both Scottsbluff and Mitchell ag labs. University of Nebraska-Lincoln researchers are looking for lines that combine good yield, multiple disease resistances, and heat and drought tolerance. At the Mitchell Ag Lab dry beans are also growing under dryland conditions to assess drought tolerance.

Irrigation management of dry beans (Xin Qiao, water and irrigation management specialist): Irrigation management of dry beans on a subsurface drip irrigation system along with monitoring of water stress in dry beans using canopy temperature, oxygen, and soil moisture sensors will be discussed adjacent to the subsurface drip field.

Weed management in Western Nebraska Irrigated Crops (Nevin Lawrence, integrated weed management specialist): Topics will include the influence of planting date and the timing of post-emergent herbicides for weed control in dry beans, the use of soil-applied herbicide in sugar beets, and the role of rotation in targeting herbicide-resistant weeds. Session will be held at the north end of the weed science area.

Improving crop profitability using beneficial insects (Jeff Bradshaw, entomologist): The Panhandle entomology program is investigating novel approaches to improve crop profitability through the use of beneficial insects. Topics will include conservation biological control of wheat stem sawfly in wheat; augmentative biological control of western bean cutworm in dry bean; and the role of native pollinators in improving sunflower yield. This session will be held near the hops yard.

Identifying and characterizing diseases for new pulse crops in Nebraska (Bob Harveson, plant pathologist): As new pulse crops emerge and increase in acreage, we will continue to see diseases. The pathology program will showcase some of the new pulse crops being grown currently in the Panhandle, and some of the diseases associated with them. However at this point it is unsure whether they are the same pathogens we see in dry beans or whether they are more host- specific for the new crops. Thus, as they appear, the diseases must be observed, identified and characterized. This session will be held in the small plot area.

In addition to the tour, vendors will showcase new equipment and ag technologies on the sidelines of the main sessions.

A free lunch will be served at 12:45 p.m. After lunch the tour moves inside to the auditorium for three, 15-minute presentations between 1:30 until 2:15 p.m. Speakers and topics include:

Knorr Holden Plots (Bijesh Maharjan, soil and nutrient management specialist): The Knorr Holden plots were started in 1912 and are listed in National Registry of Historic Places. Its evolution and lessons learned from long-term data will be presented.

Dry bean direct harvest, on-farm research (Extension Educator John Thomas).

Tariffs and trade (Extension Educator Jessica Groskopf): Remain proactive during this period of uncertainty by writing a grain marketing plan that allows you to take advantage of price increases while protecting yourself from downside price movements.

Back outside, two hours of field demonstrations will begin at 2:15 p.m. and conclude the day. The demonstrations include:

· 3RIVE 3D System for in furrow pesticide applications – FMC

· Organic Weed Puller – Bourquin Manufacturing

· Char use and application – Bijesh Marharjan

· Augmented reality in production agriculture – Engineering People

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