University of Wyoming college of agriculture draft horses pull past into present

 Travis Smith guides Pistol and Pete over the hay wagon's tongue in preparation to feed cattle this spring at the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources livestock farm west of Laramie.

Travis Smith guides Pistol and Pete over the hay wagon’s tongue in preparation to feed cattle this spring at the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources livestock farm west of Laramie.

This mobile University of Wyoming billboard boasts two horsepower and will be viewed across the state this year and foreseeable future.

Haflinger horses Pistol and Pete will patiently pull the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources sheep wagon, refurbished with new canvas and sporting new logos and lettering, in parades and at other venues, promoting the 125th anniversary of the Wyoming Agricultural Experiment Station (AES).

Their first appearances are at the Cody Stampede parades July 3-4 and July 9 at the Laramie Jubilee Days parade.

The pair’s color scheme may not be the OFFICIAL institutional color tones mandated by the University of Wyoming marketing team, but there’s no doubting the two Haflingers represent the university with their brown and gold hair and manes.

The AES, housed in the college, directs operations at four research and extension centers in Wyoming: Laramie, near Lingle, Powell and Sheridan. Pistol and Pete are expected to put in appearances at the centers’ field days this summer and at other venues across the state, pulling the college’s revamped sheep wagon and offering rides on a flatbed trailer.

Laramie R&E Center director Doug Zalesky believed the college should make more use of its sheep wagon – a symbol of Wyoming’s ranching heritage that had been sitting idle at the Laramie center – to promote the AES 125th anniversary and the college.

Zalesky received the go-ahead from AES director Bret Hess and Frank Galey, dean of the college, to revamp and use the wagon. Continue reading University of Wyoming college of agriculture draft horses pull past into present

Garden tour offers visual taste of Cody landscapes

landscapeColor-themed flowerbeds, a Japanese-inspired garden and a landscaped garden with a pond are among those highlighted during the Cody Garden Tour Saturday, July 16.

The tour, sponsored by the Park County Master Gardeners and the Cody Country Art League, is 9 a.m.-noon. Tickets are available for the tour and for the noon luncheon. For tickets and additional information, contact Suzanne Larson at 527-4652 or the Cody Country Art League, 587-3597, at 836 Sheridan Ave., Cody.

Tickets are also available at each garden location:
No. 1 – 1008 Stampede Ave., home of Lorraine Kaiser
No. 2 – 1412 Hillcrest, home of Anita Spargher
No. 3 – 2319 Ina Ave., home of Jim Landers
No. 4 – 1610 23rd St., home of Nikki Andrews
No. 5 – 1001 Rumsey Ave., home of Becky Walsh

University of Wyoming team identifies invasive grass of concern to state

Ventenata dubia
Ventenata dubia

The director of the Sheridan Research and Extension Center (ShREC) expressed concern after a rangeland survey found a little-known invasive grass on 70 acres near Sheridan.

Ventenata dubia, also called wiregrass, north African grass or simply ventenata, is a shallow-rooted annual that competes with perennial grasses and forbs and offers minimal forage value for livestock and wildlife. It is affecting hay production in Washington and Oregon.   

“This is one we have been concerned about becoming established in our state,” said Brian Mealor, ShREC director and a plant sciences professor at the University of Wyoming. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports ventenata, which is found in seven western states, is gaining attention because of its rate of spread and difficulty of control.

Ventenata is easily mistaken for cheatgrass or Japanese brome, said Mealor. He and UW master’s student Clay Wood discovered populations covering up to 50 percent per acre in some locations.

Ventenata was originally collected near Sheridan in 1997 as a specimen for the Rocky Mountain Herbarium. The herbarium is a collection of 825,000 dried plants and fungi housed at the University of Wyoming (rmh.uwyo.edu).

“We were uncertain whether the population was persisting,” said Mealor. “My suspicion is it is spreading, because we found it in a different drainage from where the original collection was made.”

Mealor calls this “a very important find.” He and Luke Sander of Sheridan County Weed and Pest are working with others on a coordinated response, which may include herbicide treatment. They will follow up with more detailed information soon, he said.

Mealor can be reached at 307-673-2647 or bamealor@uwyo.edu.

Doug Hixon received the Beef Improvement Federation Pioneer Award at the organization’s annual convention in Manhattan, Kan., last week. Hixon was a faculty member in the Department of Animal Science from 1982 until his retirement in 2013.
Doug Hixon received the Beef Improvement Federation Pioneer Award at the organization’s annual convention in Manhattan, Kan., last week. Hixon was a faculty member in the Department of Animal Science from 1982 until his retirement in 2013.

Former University of Wyoming animal science department head Doug Hixon received a Beef Improvement Federation (BIF) Pioneer Award June 16 during the group’s annual meeting and symposium in Manhattan, Kan.

Professor Emeritus Hixon joined the UW animal science faculty in 1982 and worked as a professor, researcher and extension beef cattle specialist for 19 years before being named department head in 2001. In that role, he oversaw an integrated program in teaching, research and extension. He retired in 2013.

The Pioneer Award recognizes those who have made lasting contributions to the improvement of beef cattle and honors those who have had a major role in acceptance of performance reporting and documentation as the primary means to make genetic change in beef cattle, according to the BIF.

A native of Donovan, Ill., Hixon earned his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in animal science at the University of Illinois.

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Brucellosis in Wyoming topic of state meetings

Meetings to update cattle producers on brucellosis are in Cody Monday, July 18, Pinedale July 19, Sheridan Monday, July 25, and Greybull July 26.

“The Current Status of Brucellosis in Wyoming” begins with dinner at 6 p.m. The event is hosted by the University of Wyoming Extension and the Wyoming State Veterinary Laboratory and follows the same agenda of short informational sessions and public discussion at each site, said Barton Stam, UW Extension educator and event moderator.

University of Georgia DVM candidate Chrissy Casey will present an overview of the disease, and Wyoming State Veterinarian Jim Logan will give a rundown on vaccination, quarantine and regulations.

University of Wyoming veterinary epidemiologist Brant Schumaker and University of Wyoming Ph.D. candidate Noah Hull will give perspectives on diagnosis. Regional Wyoming Game and Fish officers will discuss the management and monitoring of elk herds throughout the state.

Producers from Sublette and Park counties will recount effects of quarantines, and associate professor Dannele Peck of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Wyoming will give an agricultural economist’s perspective of the cost of quarantining. The event concludes with open discussion.

The schedule is as follows:

July 18 – Cody, Park County Courthouse, EOC Room.

July 19 – Pinedale, Sublette County Library, Lovatt Room.

July 25 – Sheridan, Watt Agricultural Building, room 131.

July 26 – Greybull, Big Horn County Weed and Pest/UW Extension office.

For more information, contact Stam at 307-864-3421 or brstam@uwyo.edu.