UW bulletin highlights agriculture research across Wyoming

 The eighth annual Wyoming Agricultural Experiment Station (WAES) Field Days Bulletin features 95 reports highlighting an array of research projects across the state, including studies involving cattle, sheep, crops, weeds, wildlife, rangelands, forests and wildfire.

The Field Days Bulletin documents and makes publicly available the content of ongoing and completed research projects and activities conducted or funded by WAES, said Bret Hess, WAES director and interim dean in the University of Wyoming College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

“This bulletin is a reflection of our commitment to document agricultural and other research at our four Research and Extension (R&E) centers in Laramie, Lingle, Powell and Sheridan, at UW and across the state,” Hess said.

Reports summarize dry bean, malting barley, sugarbeet and winter wheat variety trials, and also highlight studies relating to traditional and alternative crops, including alfalfa, grass hay, corn, table and wine grapes, chickpea, forage sorghum, camelina, as well as pulse and cover crops.

Other crop-related studies include irrigation practices, disease and insect control, fertilization, weed management and the use of compost in dryland winter wheat fields.

UW scientists, working in collaboration with others, also summarize a variety of research projects designed to help ranchers produce healthier and more efficient beef cattle and sheep.

“We are highly committed to conducting research and extension activities that help solve issues for farmers, ranchers, agricultural organizations, the owners of small acreages, the managers of both public and private lands, and others,” said WAES associate director John Tanaka, who also directs the James C. Hageman Sustainable Agriculture R&E Center (SAREC) in southeast Wyoming near Lingle.

“SAREC was formed to be a place where applied research will be conducted to help agricultural production in the region become more sustainable, and we’re working hard to achieve that mission,” Tanaka said.

The Field Days Bulletin also highlights numerous other studies, including ones involving annual, perennial and wildflowers, wildlife including pronghorn antelope and greater sage-grouse, the use of biochar in a high tunnel environment, as well as post-fire soils and forestry projects being conducted at the UW-owned and WAES-managed Rogers Research Site in the Laramie Mountains of southeast Wyoming

Another focus area is the management of cheatgrass, an invasive annual grass that is now widely distributed across Wyoming and the West, where it lessens native plant biodiversity, decreases forage for livestock and wildlife, and increases fire frequency.

“Unfortunately, there is a very limited suite of tools that may offer long-term control of cheatgrass and other invasive annual grasses,” said Brian Mealor, director of the Sheridan R&E Center. “Because of this, research teams in Wyoming and other western states are studying a variety of ways to better control this noxious weed, including how it competes with various desirable perennial grasses and whether certain herbicide mixtures and bioherbicides can offer long-term control.”

Several of the livestock, crop and other studies will be featured at R&E center field days this summer: Saturday, June 30, Sheridan; Thursday, July 19, Powell; Wednesday, Aug. 22, Lingle; and Saturday, Aug. 25, Laramie.

On the back page of this year’s bulletin are photos from the second annual “I Love Pistol & Pete” calendar, which showcases the team of Haflinger horses known as Pistol and Pete. The duo pulled the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources’ sheep wagon at various events around the state in 2017, and they are once again entertaining folks this year.

“Pistol and Pete have become well known across the state, and their fame continues to grow as they make appearances at UW events, parades and other activities in Wyoming,” said Scott Lake, interim director of the Laramie R&E Center.

Attendees of this year’s field days will receive the calendar as a gift from WAES, and a limited number of Field Days Bulletin hard copies will also be available at the events or by contacting one of the R&E centers listed below.

The 2018 bulletin (along with the 2011-2017 publications) is posted on the WAES website at www.uwyo.edu/uwexpstn/publications.

For more details about the field days, contact the R&E centers: Laramie, lrec@uwyo.edu, 766-3665; Powell, uwprec@uwyo.edu, 754-2223; Lingle, sarec@uwyo.edu, 837-2000; and Sheridan, shrec@uwyo.edu, 673-2856.