UW Livestock Judging Team records first top-five national finish in 25 years

Members of the University of Wyoming Livestock Judging team after the Houston Livestock and Rodeo Intercollegiate Meat Judging Contest awards banquet. From left, coach Caleb Boardman; Zane Mackey, Torrington; Connor Madsen, Wheatland; Ty Shockley, Wheatland; Paige Alyward, Dickens, Nebraska; Garret Barton, Poway, California; Kassi Renner, Lovell; Amanda Hartman, Denton, Montana; Kyle Cavey, Berthoud, Colorado; Lucas Stalcup, Ashland, Montana; Tyler Bauer, Fort Collins, Colorado; assistant coach Colby Hales.

Two University of Wyoming Livestock Judging Team members this spring recorded the highest-ever UW scores at national meets, and the team posted its first top-five national finish in 25 years.

Coach Caleb Boardman said Tyler Bauer, Fort Collins, Colo., and Zane Mackey, Torrington, posted the two scores at the Houston Livestock and Rodeo Intercollegiate Meat Judging Contest in March, and UW placed fourth at the San Antonio Livestock Exposition Intercollegiate Livestock Show in February.

“The 2017 University of Wyoming Livestock Judging Team had a very successful spring season,” said Boardman. The team placed in the top 10 overall at each of the three national contests.The team had multiple practice contests, judging more than 100 classes before the Denver National Western Stock Show and Rodeo in January.

“All of the workouts and practice contests paid off after the team was awarded tenth overall at the NWSS,” he said.

In San Antonio:
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UW Extension offers self-paced drought planning course

Extension educator Ashley Garrelts visits with a producer last summer during the James C. Hageman Sustainable Agriculture Research and Extension Center field day near Lingle..

Producers taking a free online rangeland drought planning course will exit with a drought plan tailored to their operations, and agency employees completing the course will be able to guide producers in creating a plan.

While the self-paced course is debuting during a wet period, it is never too early to plan for drought conditions, said Ashley Garrelts, University of Wyoming Extension educator who built the course.

The course is divided into six self-guided modules, including an introduction, soils, plants, livestock, management and economics.

“This course is designed to walk rangeland managers and livestock producers through how to plan for drought so that inevitably when it occurs they will be able to respond in a timely manner,” said Garrelts, based in Converse County and also serving Natrona and Niobrara counties.

To enroll, go to bit.ly/uwdroughtplanning. For more information, contact Garrelts at 307-358-2417 or at ashleyg@uwyo.edu.

Shake snow from branches to prevent long-term damage, say UW Extension educators

UW Extension horticulture specialist Karen Panter in Laramie visits with Fremont County Master Gardeners via Zoom during today’s snowstorm hitting the state.

Prevent long-term damage to trees from sticky spring storms by shaking branches and dislodging the heavy snow, said a University of Wyoming Extension horticulture educator.

Many trees have already begun or are leafed out.

“All of the weight from late spring snows is usually heavy and tears branches from trees, there is so much surface area from the leaves to hold the snow,” said Donna Hoffman, based in Casper.

The storm this morning was dumping large amounts of heavy, wet snow in many areas of the state, with southern and eastern Wyoming receiving the initial brunt of the storm today. More is expected through Friday.

Hoffman recommended shaking branches or the trunks of young trees with a long broom, being careful not to scrape the bark.

Tears to bark when limbs break from the trunk leave long-time scars.
“The vascular tissue is right below the bark, and if the vascular tissue is removed, parts of the tree are unable to get water or nutrients,” said Hoffman. “Tears to bark affect trees for a long time.”

There is probably not much that can be done for larger, older trees with more structure, she said.

Trees in parts of Wyoming received extensive damage from storms in 2013, particularly Casper. For those facing broken branches, proper tree pruning is needed. Hoffman said UW Extension offices have information describing how to care for damaged trees.

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Agricultural society honors UW scientist for research efforts

Sadanand Dhekney at the Sheridan Research and Extension Center modifies and uses existing DNA sequences in grape plants to obtain desirable characteristics. Nothing new is added.

A scientist at the Sheridan Research and Extension Center who uses precision breeding to improve grape varieties and vineyard management has been recognized by the national honor society of agriculture.

Sadanand Dhekney received a Faculty Award of Merit from the Wyoming chapter of Gamma Sigma Delta during the organization’s award ceremony in April at the Laramie campus of the University of Wyoming.

Dhekney is an assistant professor in the Department of Plant Sciences in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and also teaches at Sheridan College. He uses techniques in breeding and biotechnology, along with improved management practices, for expanding grapevine production in Wyoming.

Old technology inserts transgenic DNA sequences into plants to modify crops, such as making them herbicide-resistant.

“The next generation has nothing to do with inserting transgenes in plants,” said Dhekney, who has had six researchers from other countries request to work in his laboratory and learn the techniques. “The existing DNA sequences from plants and their wild relatives are modified and utilized. Nothing new is added.”

The Sheridan center is part of the Wyoming Agricultural Experiment Station based in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Dhekney joined UW in 2012.

Buffalo workshop focuses on producer prevention of food-borne pathogens

Water quality and testing and post-harvest produce handling are among topics at a good agricultural practices (GAP) workshop in Buffalo June 2-3.

Creating a food safety plan and soil and manure management are other focuses, said Blake Hauptman, University of Wyoming Extension educator. He said the workshop is for small, medium and large-scale producers to help protect customers from food-borne illnesses.

Sessions are 9 a.m.-4 p.m. both days at the Hampton Inn and Suites.

The workshop will provide details and information on farm audits for producers considering becoming certified in good agricultural practices and food safety.

GAP and good handling practices are voluntary audits through the USDA that verify fruits and vegetables are produced, packed, handled and stored as safely as possible to minimize risks of microbial food safety hazards.

Cost of attendance is $25 and includes lunch both days. Hauptman encouraged pre-registration to ensure lunch and a copy of the workbook.

Register at bit.ly/buffalogap2017. Hauptman said scholarships are available from the Powder River Basin Resource Council to cover registration fees. Apply at bit.ly/gapscholar2017 and follow directions.

For more information, contact Megan Taylor with the Powder River Basin Resource Council at 307-683-7761 or mtaylor@powderriverbasin.org; extension educator Hannah Johnson at 307-682-7281, or hjh10@ccgov.net; or Hauptman at 307-283-1192 or bhauptma@uwyo.edu.

This workshop is funded by the Wyoming Department of Agriculture Specialty Crop Grant program and is being co-sponsored by UW Extension and the Powder River Basin Resource Council.