Powell research looks for solutions
Powell – As farmers continue to face new challenges each year, the University of Wyoming (UW) Powell Research and Extension Center (PREC) continues its mission to provide useable research to those in the Bighorn Basin.
On July 16, PREC hosted its annual field day. In conjunction with the field day, the PREC Advisory Board met to discuss the direction of the Center moving forward.
“Research at the Center focuses on irrigation, weed control, cropping systems, protected agriculture, variety trials and alternative crops,” said Camby Reynolds, PREC farm manager. “We serve northwest Wyoming, including Big Horn Fremont, Hot Springs, Park and Washakie counties.”
Producer driven initiatives
UW College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Dean Frank Galey emphasized that research at PREC and the other experiment stations across Wyoming is done in accordance with Wyoming’s Production Agriculture Research Priorities (PARP).
“These projects are linked to producer-identified priorities,” Galey explained. “Hopefully producers can see where these projects fit in with our priorities, and the priorities of the producers we serve.”
UW Agriculture Experiment Station Director Bret Hess continued, “The PARP are one step in moving forward to identify research areas that producers identify. They help us to fill gaps in addressing the critical needs that producers have.”
The PARP were developed in March 2014 to “enhance the competitiveness, profitability and sustainability of Wyoming agricultural systems.”
These priorities address two goals – improving agricultural productivity considering economic viability and stewardship of natural resources and developing new plant and animal production systems, products and uses to increase economic return to producers.
Producer recommendations were divided into 12 categories ranging from crop and irrigation methods to grazing management and livestock production. Sustainable energy, climate variability and rural development are also included in the PARP.
“Anyone with comments or suggestions on the PARP should contact the Wyoming Agricultural Experiment Station at email@example.com,” encouraged PREC staff.
With a wide range of experiments being conducted across the 200 irrigated acres at PREC, several variety trials are being conducted to aid producers in selecting seed that will reach maturity and produce high yields.
In cooperation with USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS), PREC is conducting several barley trials.
The elite malting barley variety trial strives to assist in selecting malting barley varieties for Wyoming and across the northwest U.S.
In a similar manner, the spring barley nursery looks for high performing spring barley varieties.
“Our spring barley nursery is also run with USDA ARS and includes entries from private industry as well as the Western Regional spring Barley nursery,” described Research Associate Andy Pierson. “This nursery has 40 entries and is replicated three times.”
As in all variety trials, data are taken on the nursery including height, yield and test weight.
“We harvest block by block, run the analysis and put it together by variety,” Pierson continued, noting that the information is compiled nationally.
Several Miller Coors barley variety trials are being conducted at PREC, and sugarbeet varieties are also being compared at the station.
In addition, Mike Moore of the University of Wyoming Seed Certification Service is working on evaluating the performance of dry beans at the station.
“Wyoming’s climate is locally variable, as is varietal yield potential and days to maturity,” said Moore. “Yield potential and data on days to maturity are important to producers, as moderate- and long-season bean varieties may not mature in all areas.”
Using consistent seeding rates, planting date and treatment throughout the season, researchers visually assessed the number of days to reach 50 percent bloom, as well as days to maturity.
For 2014, data errors, as well as hard frost at the beginning of September, resulted in a high coefficient of variation for the trial.
A number of other irrigation trials are also conducted at the station.
More information on the wide variety of PREC experiments will be detailed in a later edition of the Roundup.
Saige Albert is managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.