Social distancing guidelines ruled out conducting an in-person field day this June at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln High Plains Ag Lab (HPAL) near Sidney.
But anybody who wants to learn about research taking place at the 2,400-acre facility can easily do so online, from the comfort of their home or office, and at any time of the day or night. The High Plains Ag Lab Virtual Field Tour 2020 can be viewed at https://go.unl.edu/virtualtours2020.
The Virtual Field Day website has a collection of videos and other online presentations (such as narrated Powerpoints) that convey the same type of information that would have been available in person.
“It was really unfortunate that we couldn’t have our normal event this year,” said Cody Creech, who coordinates research at High Plains Ag Lab and is a Dryland Cropping Systems Educator for UNL. “The reason we do research at HPAL is to benefit local clientele. Although we can’t meet together in person, we hope our attempt to convey our research using videos will be educational and beneficial. Please reach out to us with questions or feedback that may arise as your view the virtual field day videos.”
As of July 1, the presentations on the webpage included these topics and presenters:
2020 Winter Wheat Variety Tour – Panhandle Region (Stephen Baenziger, UNL Small Grains Breeding Specialist, and Tyler Benninghoven, Seed and Trait Specialist, PlainsGold, Colorado)
Row Spacing and Population in Wheat (Cody Creech, UNL Dryland Cropping Systems Specialist)
TAPS – Testing Ag Performance Solutions (Cody Creech, UNL Dryland Cropping Systems Specialist)
Key Changes in UNL 2020 Wheat Variety Tests (Amanda Easterly, Assistant Research Professor at HPAL)
Update on CoAXium Wheat Production System and Aggressor Herbicide (Chad Shelton, Director of Innovation Technology, Albaugh LLC)
Field Pea Fertility Study – Nitrogen Fertilizer and Pea Protein Levels (Dipak Santra, UNL Alternative Crops Breeding Specialist)
Field Pea Variety Trials (Dipak Santra, Alternative Crops Breeding Specialist, UNL; Troy Gerding, Soils and Operations Manager, Meridian Seeds; Tyler Kress, Genetics Lead, Pulse USA; Eric Killian, Genetics Lead, Valesco Genetics; and Mark Kok, President, Valesco Genetics)
Nitrogen Management in Dryland Winter Wheat (Bijesh Maharjan, Soil and Nutrient Management Specialist, UNL Panhandle Research and Extension Center).
Self-guided variety plot tours
In addition to the virtual field day, growers can still visit variety trial plots for self-guided tours at the High Plains Ag Lab and at a number of UNL cooperators’ farms. The tour sites will remain posted until harvest time, so it’s wise to check into local harvest conditions before attending any of these.
At each site, the plots are labeled and marked with 5-foot-tall flags, and brochures will be available inside a realtor-style box that describe the varieties and their attributes. Winter wheat plots are located in Box Butte, Banner, Cheyenne, Deuel, Perkins and Red Willow counties. Here are locations and directions:
Box Butte County (irrigated): From Hemingford, drive south on Highway 2, east on Franklin Road, then south on Road 68. The plot is in the pivot on the east side, about halfway down the pivot.
Box Butte County (rainfed): From Alliance, drive north on Highway 385. Take the exit for Highway 2. Drive north from Berea and turn west on Hall road. The plot is in the first field on the southwest corner of Hall road and Road 67.
Banner County: From Harrisburg, drive north on Spur Way (4A). The plot is in the first strip of wheat as 4A turns to the east.
Cheyenne County: From the High Plains Ag Lab shop, take the main farm road that heads north through HPAL, then east on Road 34. The first field on the north side will be a triticale forage trial, then the winter wheat variety plots are the first plots east of the triticale.
Deuel County: From Chappell, drive 12 miles east on Highway 30 to RD 189, then 6 miles north. Farm address is 2611 RD 189, Chappell. The plot is on the east side of the road, just south of the Larry Flohr farm.
Perkins County: From Grant, drive east on Highway 61, north on Road 330. The plot is on the west side, between ½ and ¾ miles north of the highway.
Red Willow County: From McCook, drive west on Highway 34 to Culbertson, then south on Highway 17 for about 5 miles. Turn east on road 713. The plot is about ½ mile east on the south side.