High Plains Ag Lab Field Day June 15 will be Face-to-Face, and Include Anniversary Celebration

2019 HPAL field day
Attendees tour the wheat variety plots at the 2019 High Plains Ag Lab June field day.

High Plains Ag Lab Field Day June 15 will be Face-to-Face, and Include Anniversary Celebration

The High Plains Ag Lab (HPAL) June Field Day and 50th (+1) Anniversary Celebration on Tuesday, June 15 will provide not only a showcase for current research at HPAL, but also recognition of the past half-century of service to agriculture in the region.

The field day will start in the afternoon and include a supper and tailgate expo at 6:30 p.m., following the field tours. Former HPAL faculty members Drew Lyon (now at Washington State University) and David Baltensperger (now at Texas A&M) will share experiences and history about ag research in the Panhandle.

It was 50 years ago last August that the U.S. Department of Defense deeded more than 2,000 acres of land, previously part of a military munitions depot, to the University of Nebraska to use for research. Since then, research conducted at HPAL has contributed to advances in crop and livestock production.

HPAL’s 2,410 acres consist of working laboratories for both crops and livestock research: 710 acres for crops, divided into 17 fields, and the remaining approximately 1,700 acres for grazing land, divided into 12 pastures. Two of the crop fields are equipped with lateral-move sprinkler systems to supplement natural rainfall. 

The 50th anniversary normally would have been observed during a summer annual field day. But when the COVID-19 pandemic intervened in 2020, instead of hosting in-person group tours, HPAL created video tours and posted a virtual field day on the internet.

For HPAL, the future includes updated facilities, equipment and capacity, and a new role as the base camp for the Nebraska Variety Testing Program. A new office-research building was constructed in 2015.

The June 15 field day will begin at 3 p.m. with the field pea variety tour. Dipak Santra, alternative crops breeding specialist at the Panhandle Research and Extension Center, will host the tour along with seed company representatives. Registration for the pea variety tour begins at 2:30 p.m. at the HPAL shop.

At 3:30 p.m. registration begins for the wheat plot tours and presentations, and trailers leave the shop at 4 p.m. 

University and industry personnel will present research and wheat varieties. This will also be a family friendly event with activities for kids.

Tour stops include:

  • Wheat TAPS Competition and Wheat Research Update — Cody Creech, UNL dryland cropping systems specialist
  • Wheat Stem Sawfly Update — Jeff Bradshaw, UNL entomologist
  • CoAXium Wheat Production System — Chad Shelton, Albaugh LLC
  • Spring and Winter Wheat Variety Testing — Amanda Easterly, UNL assistant research professor; UNL Katherine Frels, small grains breeding specialist
  • Wheat Fertility — Bijesh Maharjan, UNL fertility and nutrient management specialist
  • Ag Econ Update — Jessica Groskopf, UNL regional ag economist
  • Annual Forage Production and Grazing Supplements — Mitch Stephenson, UNL range/forage management specialist; Karla Wilke, UNL cow-calf/range management specialist

HPAL is operated by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources (IANR), under the supervision of IANR’s Panhandle Research and Extension Center at Scottsbluff. 

Directions: From Sidney, head north on Hwy 385 and turn west on Rd 32 (at the Huntsman Elevator). Turn north on Rd 111 and in 1/3 mile head west on Rd 32N, which will loop slightly. Meet at shop on 32N and park on north side of road.

More InformationCody Creech, 308-632-1266