High Plains Ag Lab to Break Ground for New Headquarters Aug. 6

High Plains Ag Lab to Break Ground for New Headquarters Aug. 6

July 11, 2013

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln High Plains Ag Lab Field Day scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 6, will highlight UNL research on breeding proso millet and other alternative crops, water use of cover crop cocktails, non-conventional options in forage production, and protecting wheat from sawfly and viruses.

High Plains Ag Lab buildingThe current headquarters building at the UNL High Plains Ag Lab near Sidney.

But the field tours aren’t the only attraction at this year’s HPAL Field Day. In addition, ground will be broken for a new headquarters, which will include a modern office and laboratory.

Beginning in 2012, a local building project committee and the University of Nebraska Foundation conducted a campaign that has raised about $500,000 to replace a 1940s-era structure. The building was part of the Sioux Army Ordnance Depot when the U.S. government gave the property to the university in 1970.

The existing building was not designed for research. The new facility will consist of a 2,800-square-foot building that would provide a laboratory and associated space for equipment; a conference room; offices for permanent staff; and work stations for students or visiting scientists.

Individuals, foundations, and agricultural businesses have stepped up to support the project. Chairman of the HPAL Building Project Committee is Keith Rexroth of Sidney, who farms in the area and whose father was a member of a local development group instrumental in getting the ag lab started.

For the August 6 field day, registration begins at 8 a.m. at the HPAL shop, with refreshments compliments of Scoular Grain, followed by welcome and administrative update from Rexroth, also chair of the HPAL Advisory Board; Tom Nightingale, HPAL farm manager; and Gary Hergert, interim director of the Panhandle Research and Extension Center.

The research plot tour begins at 8:45 a.m. Tour topics and speakers include:

  • Proso millet breeding with Dipak Santra, UNL alternative crops breeding specialist
  • Wheat stem sawfly – pest status, pheromone traps, and plant resistance with Jeff Bradshaw, UNL entomologist
  • Improving our ability to predict risk of viruses in wheat: Justin McMechan, UNL graduate student
  • Testing fenugreek and pea varieties with Dipak Santra, UNL alternative crops breeding specialist
  • Cover crop cocktails and water use with David Nielsen, research agronomist, USDA Agricultural Research Service, Akron, Colo.
  • Forage options behind irrigated wheat with Aaron Berger, UNL extension educator, Kimball, Banner and Cheyenne Counties
  • Perennial grass forage production with Jim Margheim, UNL research supervisor

The ground-breaking ceremony for the new building will be at 11:30 a.m., following the field tour. The event will end with a barbecue lunch and dessert. The break will be compliments of Wheat Belt Public Power District

Directions: To get to the High Plains Ag Lab office, take U.S. 385 to the Huntsman Elevator (6 miles north of Sidney or 7 miles south of Gurley), then drive about 2 miles west, then ½ mile north. The shop is about one-half mile east of the office.

David Ostdiek
Communications Specialist, Panhandle Research and Extension Center